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[ Dimes ] [ COINS ] 65 PCGS 4805 1894-S S 10C 1894-S 10C PR65 PCGS
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[ Dimes ] [ COINS ] 65 PCGS 4805 1894-S S 10C 1894-S 10C PR65 PCGS. As one of the Big Three of American numismatics, along with the 1913 Liberty nickel and the 1804 silver dollar, acquisition of this rarity has long been regarded as a pinnacle of collecting. Of these three rarities, only the 1894-S dime was officially listed in Mint Reports at the time of issue. This is one of the finest known 1894-S Barber dimes, and is the single most important example from a historical perspective. Only three of the nine currently known examples have been described as Gem quality. The Eliasberg Collection coin was described in the May 1996 sale as Proof 65; however, that coin has reportedly been dipped at least twice since the sale. The Eliasberg duplicate, sold by Stack's in 1947, is graded PR66 by NGC, but despite the grade, it is the coin that Eliasberg considered his duplicate, thus is probably no finer than the coin he kept. In our opinion, this coin is equal to the primary Eliasberg coin retained for his collection, and these two are the two finest examples. Both of these coins are superior to the Eliasberg duplicate that was sold by Stack's in 1947, despite its higher certified grade. Why were there only 24 dimes struck at the San Francisco Mint in 1894? This question has been asked by numismatists for many years. And why were they all struck as Proofs? Several theories over the years have tried to explain the mintage of these coins. One of the early theories suggested that these 24 coins were simply struck to balance the books in 1894, as reported in the April 1928 issue of The Numismatist. This theory was related by Farran Zerbe who claims that the information was given to him at the San Francisco Mint in 1905: To close a bullion account at the San Francisco Mint at the end of the fiscal year, June 30th, 1894, it was found necessary to show 40 cents, odd, in the year's coinage. The mint not having coined any dimes during the year, the dime dies were put to work, and to produce the needed 40 cents, 24 pieces were struck, any reasonable amount of even dollars over the 40 cents being readily absorbed in the account. It has been stated that at the time no thought was given by the mint people that a rarity had been produced, it being supposed they would, as always in the past, be ordered to coin dimes before the close of the year. It so happened that no dime coinage was ordered and the unintentional error was not realized until the year's coinage record was closed. Two parts of this theory do not seem to make sense today. If the coinage was indeed produced to close a bullion account that was off by 40 cents, why did it not matter how many even dollars over this amount were produced? Doesn't it make sense that the bullion account was then out of balance by two dollars? The second question surrounding the Zerbe report concerns the condition of these coins. With the exception of two heavily circulated examples, every known 1894-S dime is a Proof. If Mint personnel were simply balancing the account, why did they take the time to create these coins as Proofs, especially if no thought was given by the mint people that a rarity had been produced. Today, the Zerbe account is considered to be illogical and inaccurate. James Johnson presented the Presentation Specimen theory in his Coin World article of September 13 1972. He reported that his information came from Earl Parker who purchased two examples from Hallie Daggett in 1950. Hallie was the daughter of John Daggett, the superintendent of the San Francisco Mint in 1894. These details reportedly came directly from Hallie Daggett via Parker. It seems that seven banker friends of John Daggett were visiting the San Francisco Mint in 1894, and desirous of a souvenir, each received three freshly minted Proof dimes. The remaining three went to Daggett, who gave all three to his daughter. Why were dimes the coins of choice for this presentation? Why not special presentation gold coins or silver dollars? Also, why did Daggett give all three dimes to his middle child and not one to each of his three children? Perhaps he distributed them among all three and Hallie eventually received the others from her siblings. If she did spend one on ice cream, as the story is told, perhaps that was her only example, leaving just two coins in the family. The Johnson report provides the most credible theory about these coins, although even this is based on the memory of Earl Parker, two decades after the fact, with Parker relying on the recollection of Ms. Daggett, who was 72 years old when she met with Parker. Today, this is the production theory that is taken as fact, and is the theory that Walter Breen published in his various encyclopedic works. William Burd has discounted the Johnson theory as part fact and part fiction, stating that the part about various bankers each receiving three pieces is fictional. His research was published in The Inscrutable 1894-S Dime appearing in The Numismatist, February 1994. Burd suggested the possibility that Daggett simply held a reception or party and produced the dimes as demonstration pieces or souvenirs. He may have had dignitaries in from Washington, local supporters, or relatives visiting from the East. Perhaps he held a gathering commemorating his nomination to the office a year earlier. At the time, he most likely believed a regular production of dimes would be run in the second half of the year. Today this commentary provides even more speculation without any hard evidence. Burd continued: Until someone can produce Mint records that detail day-to-day operations at San Francisco, we can only surmise what took place. Until such evidence is located, we will not know the true story behind these coins. Only a few facts are known, everything else is speculation: 1. Only 24 examples were struck and they were struck during the first half of the year, according to official mint records. 2. One or more examples were reserved for the Assay Commission that met on February 13, 1895. Were these included in the 24 coins minted, or were the Assay coins in addition to the 24 examples? 3. All were struck as Proofs, and all but two retain some or full mirrored proof finish today. They were struck from a single pair of dies, indicating all were struck at approximately the same time. 4. Aside from the record in contemporary mint reports, the first public notice that these coins existed was not until the March 1900 issue of The Numismatist. These four points are the only facts of the 1894-S dime case.The Confusing Pedigree of 1894-S Dimes Several different authors and sources have provided pedigree listings of the 1894-S dimes. To this day, however, none have provided a complete and accurate pedigree listing of the nine known specimens. James Johnson published a listing in Coin World in the September 13, 1972 issue. Johnson wrote a follow-
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*Note that the price is not recalculated to the current value, but refers to the actual final price at the time the product was sold.

*Note that the price is not recalculated to the current value, but refers to the actual final price at the time the product was sold.


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