The Barber coin design was featured on dimes, quarters and half dollars. These coins, designed by United States Mint Chief Engraver Charles Barber, were minted from 1892 to 1916. Barber Dimes contain 90 percent Silver, alloyed with 10 percent Copper. When the U.S. Mint was ready to replace the Seated Liberty design in the late 1880s, Mint Director Edward Leech planned a design competition to find new artwork for the coinage.
The artists invited, however, were not interested in the contest as only the winner would walk away with a cash prize. At the same time, unsolicited submissions from the public proved to be unsuitable. Leech, therefore, turned to Barber to design the new coin art. Once Leech approved Barber’s designs, they were sent to President Benjamin Harrison who signed off on the new coins in November 1891. The quality of coin’s design has been the subject of debate among artists and the public ever since its debut.
The values of Barbers vary significantly based on several factors, including the year of mintage, mintmark and overall condition. For example, an 1892 Dime in Good condition is likely to be valued under $5, while an 1895-O Barber Dime in Extremely Fine condition may command $1,600 or more. If you have a Barber that seems to be in good condition and bears a coveted mintage year, you might consider having it professionally graded by a service such as PCGS or NGC.
Having your coin graded by a professional numismatist gives you a specific answer to the question of coin’s potential value on the open market. The grading process is exacting and accounts for the tiniest imperfections that would escape an amateur’s eyes. Additionally, when you have your Barber Dime graded, you gain professional assurance as to the authenticity of your coin.
Dime Value is Conditional
A coin’s condition drastically affects its value so you will want to examine your coin minutely. Happily, there are some simple points of comparison to help you get an idea of your item’s condition. Look particularly at the wreath on Liberty’s head. If the wreath is essentially worn off and is smooth to the touch, the coin is perhaps in Good condition. If the wreath has maintained some texture but bears noticeable signs of wear, the coin may be in Fine condition.
If the wreath is clearly defined with full texture and no wear or discoloration, then your coin could be in Extremely Fine condition. Of course, you have to note all the other details on the coin, such as the date, mintmark and other areas of the artwork. Doing so may be well worth your time, though, as coins in superior condition command superior premiums.
Value May Lie in the Mintmark
Barber Dime values are based on several factors but mintmarks are of primary interest to collectors. The coin’s mintmark, showing where it was struck, appears on the reverse under the wreath. Taking mint year 1909 for example, the most coveted Dime is the 1909-S. That S tells us the dime was minted in San Francisco. These dimes can be valued at $4.63 in Good condition while one in Extremely Fine condition may fetch $135. A 1909-D, minted in Denver, may be valued around $100 in Extremely Fine condition. A 1909-O, minted in New Orleans, could command up to $73 in Extremely Fine condition. The most common 1909 Barber Dime was minted in Philadelphia and bears no mintmark. These coins have values from less than $2 to $21.
Barber Values on the Rise
Collectors seek Barbers for several reasons. While prices can and do fluctuate, these Silver coins may see increasing price appreciation in the coming years as the coins age. With each passing year, Barber coins become scarcer. This is true of all coins but especially of Barbers, which were minted for a relatively short time. These facts taken into consideration with the Barber Dime’s metal content make for a desirable collector coin.
The Barber Dimes have multiple editions that are key dates within the series. These are one of the most historically significant dimes in the world. Key dates in the series include:
These key dates can be difficult to obtain, but they are an interesting and valuable find. These key dates have tremendous historical significance and any collector would be happy to own any of these coins. Each coin tells a story that is historically unique. Any history lover and collector can enjoy these key date Barber Dimes. Outside of these key date Barber Dimes, there are several editions that have tremendous value you can own at competitive prices.