Collecting Barber Dimes


The Design of The New Dime 

Barber-type dimes were minted from 1982-1916 which features on the obverse Miss Liberty facing right, the words LIBERTY in tiny letters situated above the forehead which as a result made it wear away quickly and the engraving of the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA surrounds while the date sits below. The reverse was modified by Charles E. Barder which took from the cereal wreath design by James B. Longacre.

The Pattern Dime Of 1891

 During the coin’s development the pattern was actively being directed to the half dollar. The Modifications are very minor and show some adjustments to the border letters with the N in UNITED being touched by the ribbon on its upper left corner.

Mintage And Distribution

The Barber Dime was first put into circulation on January 1892. The dime did receive lots of popular press but it was never singled out. The Barber Dime was minted every year from 1892-1916 the amount would depend on the call for the denomination in circulation. There were also more Barber dimes made then Barber quarters or Half dollars.

Mintages Of Barber Dimes

1907: 22,220,000


1905-O: 3,400,000

1894: 1,330,000 

1902: 21,380,000

1897: 10,868,533

1893: 3,340,000

1910-S: 1,240,000

1906: 19,957,731

1908: 10,600,000

1908-S: 3,220,000 

1895-S: 1,120,000

  1913: 19,760,000

1909: 10,240,000

1907-S: 3,178,470

1909-S: 1,000,000

1899: 19,580,000

1903-O: 8,180,000

1906-S: 3,136,640

1892-S: 990,710

1903: 19,500,000

1908-D: 7,490.000

1899-O: 2,650,000

1915-S: 960,000

1912: 19,350,000

1905-S: 6,855,199 

1906-O: 2,610,000

1909-D: 954,000

1911: 18,870,000

1916-S: 5,820,000

1899-S: 1,867,493

1894-O: 720,000

1901: 18,859,665

1915: 5,620,000

1893-S: 2,491,401

1895: 690,000

1916: 18,490,000

1901-O: 5,620,000

1909-O: 2,287,000 

1897-O: 666,000

1900: 17,600,000

1900-S: 5,168,270

1898-O: 2,130,000 

1903-S: 613,500 

  1914: 17,360,250

1907-O: 5,058,000

1914-S: 2,100,000 

1896-O: 610,000

1898: 16,320,000

1902-O: 4,500,000

1902-S: 2,070,000

1901-S: 593,022

1904: 14,600,357

1907-D: 4,080,000

1900-O: 2,010,000

1896-S: 575,056

1905: 14,551,623

1906-D: 4,060,000

1896-: 2,000,000

1913-S: 510,000 

1892: 12,120,000

1892-O: 3,841,700

1908-O: 1,789,000

1895-O: 440,000


1911-S: 3,520,000

1893-O: 1,760,000

1894-S: 24


1910-D: 3,490,000

1898-S: 1,702,507 

1910: 11,520,000

1912-S: 3,420,000

1897-S: 1,342,844

Hub Changes

 The year 1901 a new obverse hub die was brought to life in the Barber dime series. The differences of the older and newer coins are very subtle and would need magnification to prominently show, with the old coin depicting the ribbon and N from earlier and a leaf which is distant from the second S in STATES. On the new coin the N and ribbon are separated while the leaf and S are situated more closely together. This change in the new coin seems to have lowered the relief by two or three years with the word LIBERTY not wearing away as quickly.

Collecting Barber Dimes 

The dime has been a very widely collected coin in the Barber series since 1930 when Wayte Raymon’s National coin album was sold. All barber coins (non proofs) were available in circulation dating back to 1892 with most from the 20th century. For these coins even with modest wear in the LIBERTY on the obverse has worn away completely. By 1935 many Barber coins had been taken down to a G-4 condition or lower. Today for a coin to qualify and be considered as a grade VG-8 some letters from the word LIBERTY have to be visible. For a coin to be a Fine-12 the coin would have to have all letters in LIBERTY to be readable. The typical grade for a dime in the 1890s was around Good AG-3 to Good G-4. Today around 90 percent of Barber coins in collectors hands are worn and this is one of the unique things about the Barber coin series. The 1894-S dime in which only 24 were struck and only eight have been confirmed, as of today these coins are considered to be the mountain top for most collectors but with a price tag of around  $1.5M-$1.8M makes this coin not attainable for most collectors. 

Prices In 1946

As far as pricing goes for Barber coins in 1946 A Guide Book of United States Coins the highest priced coin was the 1894-s coming in at $2,000 in uncirculated grade. The lowest price for a common variety was 50₵ for the most part uncirculated 2$ but for most proofs 4$.Boy, how times have changed!

  1. 1894-S: $2,000 6. 1895-S: $17.50 11.1897-S: $12.50 16.1903-S: $12.50

  2. 1895-O: $30.00 7. 1913-S: $16.00 12.1899-O: $12.50 17.1904-S: $12.50

  3. 1901-S: $18.50 8. 1902-S: $15.00 13.1899-S: $12.50 18.1894-O: $9.00

  4. 1896-S: $18.50 9.1898-O: $13.50 14.1900-O: $12.50 19.1993-S: $8.50

  5. 1897-O: $20.00 10.1892-S: $12.50 15.1900-S: $12.50 20.1901-O: $8.50

Die Varieties Among Barber Dimes 

1905-O is the major die variety of the Barber dime series and can easily be collected. Mintmark placement and orientation can be found from 1892 through 1908 that were repunched (this can be found throughout the entire series). There are a number of misplaced dates that are a result of hidden date numbers in the denticles. The reason for this is when the workman was about to enter the date the logotype was touching it lightly on the edge of the die; this was to evaluate the metal's hardness.

Aspects Of Striking

When Barber coins were struck there was no intent for them to be collectible because of that they were struck at high speed on a knuckle action press. Typical dies would last 200,000-300,000 impressions which results in the earlier strikes to be sharper. The famous 1894-S is an example of these earlier strikes. Around 1893 collectors accepted whatever both weakly and sharper struck coins there is no record that a weakly struck coin can make it so the coin has complications. But we now know that the New Orleans issues are most often the weakly struck coins while the sharper struck came from the San Francisco issue. With things like the 1909-S being an exception.

Proof Barber Dimes

From 1892 to 1915 proof was stuck on every year but proofs from 1901 to 1904 will most likely be lightly polished portraits in the die. The popularity of proofs declined in collectors' eyes which as a result 1914-1915 have the lowest mintages. A reason for the decline is that in 1909 the Lincoln cent was first minted and were stuck with a more matte finish, matte was not very popular amongst collectors at the time this led to them not liking the rest of the series. By 1913-1914 the Buffalo nickel, Lincoln cent and all gold coins had matte finishes this left only 3 silver coins with the mirror finish one of them being the Barber dime collectors interest after that fell. Today the matte finish is highly sought after and is very expensive, time has treated this coin very well.

Grading Barber Dimes

1897-O with a grade of MS-60 have some wear and tear on them that is inevitably mainly on the cheek and the obverse field on the right. Compared to MS-63 which will have very few contact marks and wear with MS-65 having only marks seen under heavy examination, anything higher than MS-95 will have basically no marks or marks so noticeable you would need to see it under high magnification. Many Barber coins have been cleaned on earlier dated ones.

 1907-S with a grade of AU-50 will have wear on the head mainly on the hair while AU-53 there is also usually worn on the leaves and ribbon. AU-58 is glossy but has an incomplete glossy finish. Anything higher than an AU-58 will have full gloss and little to no wear.

1895-O with a grade of EF-40 the forehead and heir will have wear but the word LIBERTY should still be strong with things high from EF-40 just having more detail in the places mentioned earlier.

1914-S with a grade of VF-30 the head will show more wear with basically no detail in the hair the work LIBERTY will be worn and leaves will also be showing signs of wear.

1901-S with a grade of F-12 the head will have extensive wear with the LIBERTY also showing wear in the E and the R but is still fully able to read. Anything higher than F-12 will have lots of detail in the leaves with the rim still sharp and bold and the ER being slightly lighter.

1895-O with a grade of VG-8 the LI in LIBERTY should be clear and the rest but be at least readable and with few traces of details.

1892-S with a grade of G-4 there will be an outline of the head and a good amount of the rim is intact with all letters and dates being full.

1908-S with a grade of  AG-3 the letters and dates are readable but anything neat the borders will mostly be worn away. Letters on the rim will be partially gone or warn away.


1911 with a grade of PF-67 are cleaned and hair lines will be blunt or grainy; these are not widely desired with their glossy finish and graininess; most collectors would rather have a MS-60. PF-66 should have a hairline so detailed it can be looked at with a magnification. This proof should be free of any problems. Proofs of 1911 are rare with only 543 minted out of those there are ones with a deep cameo finish which are extremely rare; they have this due to the coin being struck on both sides.

What to Look For When Buying

Because Barber Dimes were well struck coins, finding a good example is easier than finding one amongst the quarters and half dollars. Some points to check on the dime are the hair and the leaves if weakly struck it's probably because it was minted in New Orleans they spaced the dies slightly farther apart resulting in a weaker strike. Grades from AG-3 to VG-8 once with marks or digs should be avoided. There also might be a weird circle or arc on the coins sometimes this comes from a device used on tolly cars back in the day. The normal color of a well circulated Barber dime is a light gray and coins that have been dipped can accumulate a tone after a while. Coins that are sharply stuck and have good eye appeal a PF-63 with good eye appeal if more desirable than a MS-65 that is dark or stained. Some coins that were stored in Wayte Raymond’s National holder have very nice light iridescent toning around their borders; this is caused by the sulfur in the folder that ends up interacting with the coin. A Lot of coins with rainbow toning are artificially colored like that.

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