Similar to the case of 1895 Barber dimes, those struck in 1896 were also made in relatively limited quantities, but are more numerous than the earlier dimes. The Barber dime, designed by U.S. Mint Chief Engraver Charles E. Barber and first struck in 1892, was produced in tremendous quantities over many years. However, as the year 1896 evidences, there are some tough dates in the series, making it quite challenging for numismatists to complete a date-and-mintmark set of Barber dimes.
Here’s a breakdown of the mintages and values of 1896 Barber dimes:
1896 – 2,000,000; $15
1896-O – 610,000; $82
1896-S – 575,056; $88
1896 proof – 762; $600
*Values are for coins in a grade of Good-4, unless otherwise noted.
The Philadelphia issue is clearly the most numerous and affordable, though it, too, is more expensive than many other Philadelphia-minted dimes of the era. The New Orleans (O) and San Francisco (S) mint 1896 dimes are semi-key issues, with values of $80 to $90 in Good. Finding decent examples of either may be difficult, but it well worth the effort.
1896 proof dimes are generally not pursued by casual Barber dime collectors, and are usually purchased only by those who are assembling a supreme example of a date-and-mintmark collection.