The 1894-S Barber Dime is one of the rarest coins in existence. Only 24 were struck – with only nine believed to be remaining. The 1894-S Barber Dime is considered, along with the 1804 dollar and the 1913 Liberty nickel, to be one of “The Big Three” of United States numismatic rarities. This week, one of the elusive 1894-S Barber Dimes went to auction, selling for an astounding $1,997,500.
The 1894-S Barber Dime was struck at the San Francisco mint. There are many stories about why so few of the coins were produced, but none have been substantiated, giving the 1894-S Barber Dime a sort of mythical aura amongst collectors.
The 1894-S Barber Dime recently put up at auction (both seller and buyer were anonymous) is considered the finest example of its kind known. Experts say its condition is nearly flawless. How it came into circulation is a mystery, but it is believed to have been in the hands of collectors for most, if not all, of its existence.
As noted above, while 24 of the 1894-S Barber Dimes were struck, 15 are still unaccounted for. That means collectors everywhere can still dream of discovering one of these legendary coins.
Alex has written for Vanity Fair, Barrons, Bloomberg and Condé Nast Traveler.