Coin collecting has been and continues to be a hobby for many. Old coins representative of American currency are treasured artifacts. For those who enjoy collecting coins or learning about the chain of events behind currency production, there are many reasons to find coins fascinating.
While not all coins equate to a shared value, the discrepancies between their worth are often influenced by the history or social context from which they came to be. The stories behind coin creations contain their own value that enrich the coin value as a result. The location, material, and survival count also influence the coin’s worth, rarity, and collector interest.
One coin of interest is the barber dime, a rare coin and one with a rich history behind it. From the coin’s start through its replacement, the barber dime has accumulated significant value and speculation. To learn more about this fascinating coin, read on and discover its history.
A Brief Recap
Charles E. Barber was responsible for the coinage of the U.S. quarter, dime, and the half dollar, all which ran from 1892-1916. Charles, like both his father and grandfather, was an engraver. By 1880, the Senate appointed Barber as the chief engraver, of which he served until he died in 1917. In the summer of 1891, Barber was to create designs for the barber dime, half dollar, and quarter.
The Dime’s Design
After much dispute, Barber completed the barber dime, with Liberty, right-facing on the front side and “One Dime” on the reverse, alongside a wreath of oak leaves, maple, and crops. You can also see a monogram of “B” at the base of her neck to indicate Barber’s craftsmanship.
Given the limited space available on the dime, “IN GOD WE TRUST” was not added. Perhaps to make up for this missing component, Barber added a unique feature to the barber dime that was not included in the quarter or the half dollar for the time of his services. This feature was of a series of stars lining the edges of the dime’s head.
Barber Dime Rarity
Although more than 17 million of Barber’s dimes were minted in 1900, the proofs only amounted to around 600. A total of 24 were struck at The San Francisco Mint, and the superintendent gave away a total of six at the location. There is limited information regarding why so few dimes were coined or why the 1894-S barber dime is so rare.
Under twelve of these dimes have been identified, with one selling for more than $2 million in 2013. American dimes minted from 1892-to 1916 are considerably rare. The Mercury dime reduced demands for Barber’s dimes, and they were put to a halt by the end of 1916. These events limited barber dime production.
Keep Your Eyes Peeled
Although Barber’s design was ultimately replaced, the significance of the barber dime lives on in the rarity of its existence. Keep your eyes peeled for a gem like this— you never know what coin you’ll stumble upon.