1894 S Barber Dime: A Guide for Coin Enthusiasts

1894 S Barber Dime

The 1894-S Barber dime is highly coveted in the United States Barber coinage series. It is considered one of the rarest and most valuable U.S. coins, alongside the 1804 dollar and the 1913 Liberty Head nickel. In recent years, the coin has fetched prices of $1.3 million in 2005 and $1.9 million in 2007. Only 24 of these dimes were minted, and just nine are known to exist today. All surviving coins are proofs, with two heavily worn impaired proofs. In 1957, one of these impaired proofs was discovered in a junk coin box at Gimbels Department Store and purchased for just $2.40.

History of 1894 S Barber Dime

In early 1894, the San Francisco Mint produced only 24 proof dimes of the Barber series. The reason for this limited mintage remains a mystery. Some believe the coins were minted as gifts for prominent bankers, while others suggest they were created to balance a $2.40 discrepancy in the mint’s annual audit. It is said that the mint’s superintendent gave three of the dimes to his daughter, who reportedly spent one on ice cream and sold the other two in the 1950s.

Specification

  • Designer: Charles E. Barber
  • Edge: Reeded
  • Diameter: 17.90 millimeters
  • Weight: 2.50 grams
  • Mintage: 24
  • Mint: San Francisco
  • Metal: 90% Silver, 10% Copper
  • Auction Record: $1,997,500, PR66BM ( 01-06-2016) at Heritage Auctions

Basic Design

  • Obverse Text: 1894 | UNITED STATES OF AMERICA | LIBERTY
  • Reverse Text: ONE DIME | S

Rarity and Condition

Due to its limited mintage and the intrigue surrounding its history, the 1894-S Barber dime is one of the most sought-after U.S. coins. By the late 1990s, one of these dimes sold for $825,000. Prices continued to rise with a coin selling for $1,035,000 in 2005, another for $1.3 million also in 2005, and $1.9 million in 2007. 

The finest known example, graded Proof 66 by the Professional Coin Grading Service and featuring a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker, sold for nearly $2 million at a Heritage auction in 2016. In August 2019, another 1894-S Barber dime was sold at a Stacks Bowers Galleries auction in Chicago for $1,320,000. The buyer was Dell Loy Hansen, owner of the Major League Soccer team Real Salt Lake.

Also Read – 1916 Mercury Dime: A Complete Guide

The Bottom Line

The 1894-S Barber dime extreme rarity, intriguing backstory, and high auction prices make it a gem among coin collectors. Whether acquired for historical significance or investment purposes, this coin holds a unique place in the world of numismatics.

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