1894 Barber dimes pose issues for those tight on cash. Even for those who don’t count the 1894-S (more on that issue momentarily) among the “must-have” pieces from 1894, a complete collection of the Barber dime series still requires the finding and purchasing of the 1894-O Barber dime. That piece is difficult to find and, with a nearly $75 price tag for a piece only in Good-4, is quite pricey, too.
Here’s a breakdown of mintage figures and values below:
1894 – 1,330,000; $29
1894-O – 720,000; $72
1894-S – 24; $1,550,000 (based on auction transactions)
1894 proof – 972; $600
*Values are for coins in a grade of Good-4, unless otherwise noted.
What probably stands out above isn’t the $72 Good-4 price for the 1894-O Barber dime or $600 value on the 1894 proof dime but, rather, the $1.5 million dollar auction price for the 1894-S. Why were only 24 Barber dimes made at the San Francisco Mint in 1894? San Francisco Mint superintendent John Daggett reportedly had 24 dimes struck – giving three to seven banker friends and three to his daughter, Hallie, who was instructed by her dad to save them until she was much older. The young girl she was, one dime was promptly spent to buy ice cream, but she saved the other two. Only nine are known to exist today, and many of the well-preserved examples appear to be in a proof state.