The absolute finest known 1901-S Barber Quarter is a single piece which has been graded PCGS MS68+. This coin had previously been certified as PCGS MS68 when it was sold at auction in March 2010 for a price of $327,750. Shortly after the auction this coin was regraded with the plus designation and served as a featured coin for PCGS’s announcement of Secure Plus grading. In May 2010, it was announced that the coin had been sold privately for an unspecified price.
Other high grade examples include three pieces graded by PCGS as MS66 and MS67, with only seven gems graded MS65. The finest pieces graded by NGC include just two examples at MS67, followed by two examples each at MS66 and MS65. Undoubtedly, these numbers include a few resubmissions, which means the actual rarity of the pieces could be even greater than the numbers imply.
As can be surmised, the 1901-S quarter represents an exceptional rarity at the gem level and stands out as the rarest 20th century silver issue in gem uncirculated conditio. Uncirculated examples in slightly lower grades are just as rare, and even AU certified specimens trade very infrequently and for very high prices.
As for values, the price record for a 1901-S Barber Quarter at public auction stands for the previously mentioned PCGS MS68 (now MS68+) which sold for $327,750. Only a few others have sold for 6 figure prices, graded gem or finer, but these sales occur very infrequently. In lower uncirculated and higher circulated grades the price difference is relatively small, indicating the rarity of this issue in those grades as well. The lowest grades, often having multiple problems such as cleaning and various other forms of damage usually sell for a couple of thousand dollars each.