1857 Liberty Seated Quarter Dollar - Smoking Liberty Obverse Variety

by Greg Johnson


The 1857, one of the most common seated quarters, has at least two very interesting varieties. One of them, the so-called “Smoking Liberty” variety, managed to remain essentially unknown (or at least not well known) until 2009. It came to the attention of Liberty Seated Quarter collectors when three examples were offered for sale at auction by David Lawrence Rare Coins in August of 2009. Their write up of the first of the three pieces said, “This and the next two coins come from the now famous Saverio Barbieri Cache of 28 pieces, 26 of which have been authenticated, graded and encapsulated by Dominion Grading Service (DGS). Discovered in 2000, Barbieri searched through over 30,000 Seated Liberty quarters dated 1857 and was able to find only 28 pieces. With much anticipation, these attributed pieces are offered here for the first time.

”Though to date the “hoard” attributed to Mr. Barbieri has not come to market, the variety appeared for sale fairly regularly during 2009 and 2010; generally without much of a premium. Since that time the supply has dwindled and examples are infrequently found for sale. Best estimates, accounting for results of the recent LSCC survey in which only 12 examples were reported, continue to put the total number of examples in all grades at well under 100. PCGS has not yet recognized, and started attributing, the variety, but has encapsulated a number of unattributed pieces. The finest of these are an MS64 and an MS61 – no other mint state pieces have been seen. Though, to be fair, there is still much uncertainty regarding what may exist, as the group of 28 coins reported in the original write up have not been cataloged.



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