1894-S Barber Dime

With a total proof mintage of just 24 pieces, the 1894-S Barber Dime is one of the true highlights of American coinage. The mintage of the coins is included in the Mint Director’s report of the year, although the exact details relating to the creation of these pieces remains unknown.

The most likely theory was published by James Johnson in 1972, based on what he had been told by Earl Parker. He purchased two examples from Hallie Dagget in 1950. She was the daughter of John Dagget, who was superintendent of the San Francisco Mint in 1894. Apparently, each of the seven visitors to the Mint in that year had been given three 1894-S Barber Dimes. The remaining pieces were given to Hallie, who spent one on an ice-cream and kept the other two.

Whether this story is true or not, the current census lists nine coins, with another three rumored to exist. In recent years, the higher grade examples have changed hands for prices in excess of $1 million. The pieces believed to be the finest known was sold at auction in Marcy 2005 for $1,322,500 and subsequently resold in a private transaction for $1,900,000, representing the highest price paid for this issue.