1894-S Barber Dime, Branch Mint PR66
1894-S 10C Branch Mint PR66 PCGS Secure. CAC. Ex: Eliasberg.
The 1894-S Barber dime is a classic rarity in American coinage,
often grouped with the 1804 dollar and the 1913 Liberty nickel as
"The Big Three" of United States numismatic rarities. In addition
to its absolute rarity, the 1894-S is one of the best "Story" coins
in all of numismatics. Generations of collectors have smiled at the
notion of Superintendent John Daggett's young daughter, Hallie,
spending one of these dimes for ice cream on her way home from the
Mint. Even though recent research indicates this anecdote is
fanciful, it has lost none of its charm.
Only 24 Examples Struck, Possibly Nine Known Today
Finest PCGS Specimen, Ex: Clapp-Eliasberg-Richmond
The 1894-S remains the most famous, mysterious, and elusive coin in the entire Barber series and has been the stuff of collector dreams since it was first mentioned in the numismatic press by Augustus Heaton in 1900. Although every collector would love to own an example, only a select few will ever realize that cherished dream. No more than nine, and possibly only eight, examples of the 1894-S are known to collectors today, and the coin offered here is the finest-certified survivor at PCGS, an important consideration for Registry Set purposes. It traces its history back almost to its time of issue and has been a highlight of some of the most fabulous coin collections of all time along the way. Famous collectors like John M. Clapp, Louis Eliasberg, and James A. Stack have taken great pride in their ownership of this coin. The 1894-S Barber dime routinely sells for more than $1 million on the infrequent occasions when an example is offered at public auction, and private sales have been reported for more than $2 million, but the opportunity to own and contemplate one of these magnificent coins is truly priceless. Heritage Auctions is privileged to offer the finest-known, PCGS-certified example of this celebrated rarity in just its fourth auction appearance.
Origin of the 1894-S Barber Dime
The San Francisco Mint struck nearly 2.5 million Barber dimes in 1893, and planned another substantial mintage in 1894. Five pairs of 1894-dated working dies were delivered in November of 1893, and another five pairs were delivered in January of 1894, to prepare for the year's coinage. Unfortunately, the Panic of 1893 caused a widespread and long-lasting economic recession and there was little demand for small change in the shrinking economy. Aside from a minuscule mintage of 24 pieces, delivered on June 9, no dimes were struck at the San Francisco facility in 1894.
The tiny mintage was duly recorded in Mint records and listed in the Report of the Director of the Mint for 1895 in the table on pages 212-213. In accordance with Mint policy, two coins were sent to Mint Director Robert Preston, in Philadelphia, for assay, per a June 9-dated letter from Acting Superintendent Robert Barnett. These coins were melted and assayed in due course. On June 25, two more examples were assayed as part of the monthly assay at the San Francisco Mint. A fifth specimen was sent to Philadelphia on June 28 to be reserved for the annual Assay Commission, which met early in 1895 to test and review the coinage from the previous year. It seems that the remaining 19 specimens were placed in a bag of dimes and released into circulation, aside from a few coins that were obtained by Mint personnel at face value. Although no one could have foreseen it when the coins were struck in June, there would be no further orders for dimes in 1894 at the San Francisco Mint. Thus, the 1894-S Barber dime was a fabulous rarity from its time of issue.
Interest in collecting branch mint coins increased significantly in 1893, after the publication of Mint Marks, Augustus G. Heaton's seminal treatise on the subject. Many collectors wrote to the San Francisco Mint in 1894, seeking to update their collections with examples of that year's coinage. Orders for the other denominations were cordially filled, but collectors were uniformly told that dimes had not been struck (to inquiries received before June 9) or that none were available (later in the year). The incredibly small mintage soon became public knowledge, but no reason was given for striking such a small number of coins. Contemporary collectors were mystified by the tiny production total. Over the years, several theories have been advanced to explain the existence of the coins, and one story in particular has assumed mythological proportions in recent decades.
In the September 1972 issue of Coin World, numismatist James Johnson wrote an important article on the 1894-S dime and compiled a roster of the coins known to him at that time. In response, collector Guy Chapman wrote a letter detailing how San Francisco coin dealer Earl Parker marketed two specimens of the 1894-S at a meeting of the Redwood Empire Coin Club in 1954. According to Chapman, Parker related that he purchased the coins five years before from Hallie Daggett, daughter of John Daggett, Superintendent of the San Francisco Mint in 1894. Hallie Daggett, who would have been about 70 years old when the transaction supposedly took place in 1949, reportedly told Parker that her father ordered the coins struck at the request of some banker friends, who had heard there would be no dimes struck that year. Daggett and seven of his friends each received three coins, accounting for the entire 24-coin mintage. Daggett gave his daughter the three coins he received, telling her they would be rare and she should save them until she was as old as he was, when they would be worth a great deal of money. Unfortunately, it was a hot day, and Hallie could not resist spending one of the new dimes on ice cream on her way home from the Mint. She retained the other two through all the intervening years, until she sold them to Parker. Walter Breen published this charming story in his important numismatic works and it has been widely accepted ever since. The fact that two of the known specimens are well-worn, having been recovered from circulation, gave some credence to the ice cream story, but later research has largely discredited this popular account.
There are many problems with the Hallie Daggett "ice cream" story. One argument against it concerns the initial distribution of the coins. We now know that five of the 24 coins were sent to assay, leaving a net distribution of 19 specimens. Mathematically, eight people could not have received three coins each, as required by Parker's account.
Another contradictory indication is the state of Superintendent Daggett's health in 1894. He was sick for much of the year with sciatica, and Chief Clerk Robert Barnett was acting superintendent in June, when the coins were struck. Barnett signed all the letters that accompanied the specimens sent for assay, answered much of the collector correspondence about the 1894-S, and gave the first public interview about the coins, in 1895. It seems most likely that Barnett was the man who ordered the striking of these coins, as he was in charge of most of the Mint's affairs at the time.
Another difficulty is Hallie's age. She was a mature young woman by all accounts in 1894, 15 years of age. She might still have been fond of ice cream, but she was not the sublimely innocent child who spent a coin worth a small fortune on a treat, as she is portrayed in the story. Also, John Daggett had three surviving children in 1894. One wonders why he would give all three coins to his middle daughter and none to his other children. If he did give the coins to Hallie, Daggett still could not have known in June that there would be no dimes struck during the remainder of the year, so he could not be certain that the coins would be rare in the long run, and would not have instructed her to save the dimes so urgently.
Finally, in the July 29, 2013 issue of Coin World, Nancy Oliver and Richard Kelly report a conversation with Ken Jordan, who was present at the meeting of the Redwood Empire Coin Club where Parker offered the two "Daggett Specimens" of the 1894-S dime. As Jordan remembers it, Parker actually said the coins were acquired from the daughter of a banker in Ukiah, California, who was given a similar admonition to save the coins. The "Ukiah banker" story first surfaced in an article in The Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine in February, 1951:
"Wm. F. Bailey of San Francisco forwarded a newspaper clipping telling of the sale, by a non-collector, of two specimens of the 1894-S dime (24 were minted).
"According to the story, back in 1894, a banker in Ukiah gave three dimes to his little daughter and told her to save them as they would someday be valuable. Recently the Ukiah woman sold two of them for $2,750.00 each. She looked high and low for the third specimen, but finally remembered that it was a hot day in 1894 when her father gave her those dimes and she visited an ice cream parlor on the way home."
The two stories are obviously related, as they share too many points in common to be coincidentally similar. Since the "Ukiah banker" version was published in 1951, it could not have been copied from Parker's 1954 account. It may be that a banker in Ukiah, California discovered several examples of the 1894-S dime in a bag of circulating coinage sometime after the June striking and gave them to his daughter as an investment for the future, as related in the 1951 article. If Earl Parker purchased the coins from the Ukiah woman in 1949, he might have confused, or embellished, the story when he sold them five years later, creating the Hallie Daggett myth. Alternatively, it may have been Guy Chapman who added the fanciful details in his retelling of the story in his 1972 letter. Hallie Daggett died in 1964, ten years after Parker offered the coins at the Redwood Empire Coin Club meeting but, since the story was not widely published until 1972, she never had a chance to contradict it if it wasn't true. All things considered, the Ukiah banker story seems more likely to be the true account of the early history of these three specimens, but it offers no explanation for the extremely small size of the 1894-S dime mintage.
More Origin Theories
One alternative theory for the production of the 1894-S dimes proposes that they were struck to test the dies. There is no documentary evidence to confirm this theory, however, and it seems that such a test would be superfluous, since the striking characteristics of the Barber design had been well-established in the previous two years.
Another theory suggests the coins were produced for assay purposes, but this also lacks official confirmation. Augustus Heaton advanced this theory in a 1908-dated article in the New York Sun, based on an account by Chief Weigher Frank C. Berdan. Berdan related that the dimes were struck as assay samples for an order for $100,000 worth of silver coinage that was to be delivered in July of 1894. Perhaps he was aware of the five 1894-S dimes sent to various parties by Barnett for assay and assumed the entire 24-coin mintage was produced for this purpose. Heaton relates:
"He (Berdan) took a couple of ordinary dimes from his pocket and exchanged them for two of the new ten cent pieces merely from a desire to possess the first specimens that had come from the dies of this denomination for the year. He said that the idea of the dimes ever becoming scarce never entered his mind, for an order for 100,000 pieces might be expected any day, and no one would have imagined that the entire year would pass without the dies being brought into requisition."
Of course, no order for dimes was received, so no assay specimens would have been necessary. Berdan reported that his two coins "afterward fell into the hands of a well-known mint mark collector."
A similar (but not identical) story was related in the April 1928 issue of The Numismatist, where Farran Zerbe recounted that the coins were struck "To close a bullion account at the end of the fiscal year, June 30, 1894." Zerbe also mentions that the Mint staff had no idea they were creating an instant rarity but:
"It is said that two or three of the pieces were obtained by mint people at the time of coinage 'just to have a new dime,' and following the disclosure of rarity these were sold to collectors for $25 or more apiece. Excepting these two or three pieces, the coinage is said to have gone into a bag with other dimes and is supposed to have passed from the mint for circulation."
Zerbe noted he had obtained his information at the San Francisco Mint in 1905
The most likely explanation for the small mintage was provided in a newspaper article in the San Francisco Call, published on August 25, 1895 and reprinted in many daily papers around the country. The article read, in part:
"Inquiry at the mint elicited the information that during the fiscal year of 1894 only twenty-four dimes were coined at the San Francisco Mint. How this came about was told by Chief Clerk Robert Barnett (who was acting superintendent at the time the dimes were struck).
"All uncurrent subsidiary coins, viz., those containing other than the design now being used when received at the sub-treasury, are not again allowed to go into circulation, but are sent to the mint to be recoined with the current design. In the course of the year 1894 we received a large sum in these coins, but having an ample stock of dimes on hand, it was not intended to coin any of that denomination in 1894. However, when nearly all of this subsidiary coin bullion had been utilized, we found in our hands a quantity that would coin to advantage only into dimes and into dimes it was coined, making just twenty-four of them.
"My attention was first called to the matter particularly by the receipt of a letter from a collector somewhere East requesting a set of the coin 1894. In filling this order I found there were no dimes of that date on hand. Subsequently I received quite a number of similar letters, and in each case was, of course, unable to furnish the dimes."
This contemporary account by the official who probably ordered the striking of the 1894-S dimes is the most authoritative explanation for the origin of these coins that has ever come to light. It was necessary to strike the coins to balance the accounts before the fiscal year ended on June 30, as Zerbe mentioned in his article above, and Barnett's interview further confirms that the Mint personnel had no thought of creating a rarity at the time the coins were struck.
Proofs or Business Strikes
All well-preserved examples of the 1894-S Barber dime exhibit reflective surfaces and the issue is uniformly sharply detailed, both hallmarks of traditional proof coins. Historically, the 1894-S has always been regarded as a proof issue, and both PCGS and NGC certify these coins as proofs, or branch mint proofs. However, recent research by Kevin Flynn and Q. David Bowers has called the proof status of the 1894-S into question. Only one pair of dies was used to strike the 24-coin mintage, and Flynn points out that there is no indication that either the planchets or the dies were specially polished. Likewise, there is no indication that the coins were struck more than once. Bowers notes that the fresh dies imparted a prooflike surface to the unworn coins, but they lack the mirror-like depth of reflectivity seen on regular proof issues. The technical merits of this discussion will undoubtedly be hotly debated in the future, but no one doubts that all the coins were produced at the same time, in the same manner, so no example of the 1894-S can claim to be from a more elusive format than any other example. Since they are all either one thing or the other, the point is probably moot for collecting purposes.
Numismatic Discovery and Development of the 1894-S
According to Robert Barnett, approximately 50 collectors wrote the San Francisco Mint in 1894 (including famous numismatists like Augustus Heaton, Peter Mougey, and John M. Clapp), trying to order sets of Uncirculated coins for the year. They were told no dimes had been coined or none were available. Barnett gave his widely circulated newspaper interview in 1895 and anyone who read the 1895 Mint Report would have been aware of the coin's existence and its infinitesimal mintage. However, knowledge about the 1894-S remained limited until the turn of the century.
Augustus Heaton authored the first mention of the issue in a numismatic publication in the March 1900 issue of The Numismatist. Updating his 1893 treatise on branch mint coinage, Heaton reported:
"The San Francisco mint takes proudly to itself the sensation of later U.S. coinage in striking but $2.40 worth of dimes, or just 24 pieces in all, in the year 1894. Of these, the writer possesses the only one known to the numismatic world. The nearest small issue to '94 of this mint is $57,000 worth in 1896. Therefore in the last decade the San Francisco mint has issued one of the very rarest United States coins."
Having failed to obtain a specimen directly from the Mint in 1894, Heaton apparently acquired one from another source at an early date. By June of 1900, another coin was reported, in J.C. Mitchelson's collection. H.O. Granberg purchased Heaton's coin and exhibited it at the 1911 ANA Convention and the 1914 ANS Exhibition. A few more specimens surfaced over the years, but examples remained extremely rare in the numismatic marketplace of the 1920s and '30s. None were offered publicly until 1945. By the 1920s, B. Max Mehl was offering $100 for any example of the 1894-S Barber dime in his voluminous advertising campaigns, twice what he offered for a 1913 Liberty nickel.
The prestige of the 1894-S Barber dime has grown steadily over the years and it is one of the most famous and valuable of all U.S. coins today. Only nine examples are known, though a few others have been reported. No example of the 1894-S has been offered at auction since 2007, when the PR64 (now PR64+) PCGS specimen in lot 4291 of Stack's 72nd Anniversary Sale realized $1,552,500. Another example changed hands at a private sale in 2013 for more than $2 million.
The Present Coin
John M. Clapp was one of the first numismatists to embrace collecting branch mint coins on a large scale. He began ordering year-sets of Uncirculated coinage from each of the branch mints in the early 1890s and continued this practice until his death in 1906. He wrote the San Francisco Mint on November 2, 1894, requesting an example of each denomination struck that year. Acting Superintendent Barnett replied on November 9, with the perfunctory information, "We have no coinage dimes 1894." Clapp recorded many of his purchases in a notebook, which he updated fairly regularly throughout this period. Although the knowledge was not widely disseminated, Clapp's notebook reveals that he possessed two examples of the 1894-S by 1900, one he called proof and the other Uncirculated. One of the coins was listed with a reference to a San Francisco source, but apparently not the Mint. Since Frank Berdan reported he had obtained two examples at the time of coinage, which were later sold to a "well-known mint mark collector," it may be that Clapp obtained his two coins from him. One of these pieces became the finest-known specimen of the 1894-S Barber dime, the coin offered here.
Both examples of the 1894-S remained in Clapp's collection until his death, when all his coins passed to his son, John H. Clapp. The younger Clapp was also a numismatist of note, and he preserved and added to the collection regularly until he passed away. Years later, the Clapp Estate sold the entire coin collection intact to super-collector Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr., in a blockbuster transaction brokered by Stack's. Eliasberg is known as the only collector in history to form a complete collection of U.S. coins by date, mintmark, and major variety.
Unlike some other prominent collectors, who stockpiled duplicate examples of famous rarities in their collections (Virgil Brand and "Colonel" Green come to mind), Eliasberg was usually content to preserve just one example of each issue in his collection. Accordingly, after merging the Clapp Collection with his own, he offered many of his duplicates in a Stack's auction in October of 1947. The auction was billed as the H.R. Lee sale, a clever abbreviation using his mother's initials (H.R. for Hortense Regina) combined with the initials of his first, middle, and last names (Lee for Louis E. Eliasberg). No one knows what criteria Eliasberg used to select which coins he kept and which he offered for sale. No formal grading standards had been established at the time and, while Eliasberg had a keen eye for quality, the difference in price between one coin in attractive condition and another in slightly higher grade was not nearly as great as it is today. In the case of his two 1894-S dimes, he chose to retain the coin that is recognized as the third-finest example today (PR65 PCGS) and sold the present coin, which is generally regarded as the finest-known example and grades PR66 PCGS Secure, CAC. He did something similar with his 1815 half eagles, and possibly some other coins as well. In any case, this coin was featured as lot 348 of the Stack's catalog, with a photograph of the coin and the following long description:
"1894 'S' Is unquestionably one of the extreme rarities in United States Silver coins. The fact is there were only 24 of these coins struck and the Cataloguer has for many years tried to find out in what collections these may be found, but met with little success. Our only other experience with these coins was when we acquired the famous Clapp Collection in which there were two specimens. The Clapp Collection is now held intact by one of the outstanding Collectors of American coins. This is the first time we are offering at public auction this great rarity. In the fine collection sold by the Numismatic Gallery one brought $2,350.00 and was purchased by the celebrated collector, Mr. W. W. Neil; it was recently resold by B. Max Mehl for $2,325.00. Many of the very famous collections of both past and present lacked this particular coin. We are offering in this collection this Brilliant Proof, and we concur with other dealers and cataloguers alike that this coin is actually worth $2,500.00. The collector who will be fortunate enough to possess it has little cause for worry regarding depreciation."
The cataloger was apparently torn between his desire to reveal all that he knew about the 1894-S and his obligation to maintain confidentiality for his client, as he certainly knew that the coin being offered came from the Clapp Collection. The lot realized $2,135, a relative bargain, to prominent collector James A. Stack (no relation to the Stack's auction firm). It remained in Stack's collection until it was sold, long after his death, in another Stack's auction in January of 1990, where it realized $275,000. This piece changed hands privately, at ever-increasing prices, for the next 15 years before being offered by David Lawrence Rare Coins in the famous Richmond Collection in 2005, where it brought a then-record $1,322,500. It has changed ownership a couple of times since then, but it has not been offered at auction in the last decade.
Summary and Physical Description
Most of the ultra-rare coins in the U.S. federal series were either produced in small numbers under clandestine circumstances (e.g., the 1804 dollar and 1913 Liberty nickel) or struck in ordinary mintages that were decimated by widespread melting in later years (e.g., the 1822 half eagle and the 1927-D double eagle). Many theories have been advanced over the years to explain the rarity of the 1894-S Barber dime, some of them quite charming, but most experts now agree that the 1894-S owes both its existence and its elusive nature to an ordinary mintage of just 24 specimens, struck at the San Francisco Mint to balance the bullion accounts for the fiscal year on June 9, 1894. The production was duly recorded in the Report of the Director of the Mint for 1895, and there has never been any hint of impropriety in the striking of the coins or their initial distribution. No example of the 1894-S will ever be the subject of government confiscation or lengthy court battles and purists can never accuse the 1894-S of not being a "real coin."
The present coin has long been considered the finest-known specimen. When he sold this piece in 1998, David Lawrence remarked, "It's a numismatic giant; the greatest coin I have ever handled!" It is a delightful Premium Gem, with razor-sharp definition on all design elements. Every detail of the leaf veins and corn kernels in the wreath are sharply rendered and the dentils are fully detailed on both sides. The impeccably preserved surfaces are blanketed in vivid shades of greenish-gold, violet-blue, and rose-gray toning, and the fields are brightly reflective, under the patina. Eye appeal is unsurpassed. Only 24 Barber dimes were struck at the San Francisco Mint in 1894. No more than nine examples are known to collectors today, with this coin being the finest survivor certified by PCGS. This piece is the only PR66 example at either grading service that has been verified by CAC and this offering is only the fourth time it has appeared at public auction since it was struck 122 years ago. Registry Set enthusiasts will find no adequate substitute for this remarkable specimen.
Roster of 1894-S Barber Dimes
The following roster is expanded from earlier work by James Johnson, Walter Breen, William A. Burd, David Lawrence, Mark Borckardt, Kevin Flynn, Jeff Ambio, Q. David Bowers, Saul Teichman, Wayne Burt, and Doug Trentmann. Several Additional Appearances are listed, which represent unconfirmed citations, appearances of the nine coins in the primary roster that cannot be definitely linked to the other specimens, or additional specimens that are not currently traced.
1. Branch Mint PR66 PCGS Secure, formerly PR66 NGC. CAC. San Francisco source circa 1894, possibly Frank C. Berdan, weigher at the San Francisco Mint; John M. Clapp, before 1900; John H. Clapp; Clapp Estate; Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. in 1942, via Stack's; H.R. Lee Collection (Stack's, 10/1947), lot 348, realized $2,150; James A. Stack; James A. Stack Collection (Stack's, 1/1990), lot 206, realized $275,000; Armen Vartian, agent for "David D.", per Q. David Bowers; Jay Parrino; sold to David Lawrence Rare Coins for $450,000; Bradley Hirst, owner of the Richmond Collection, in 1998 for $825,000, via David Lawrence; Richmond Collection, Part III (David Lawrence Rare Coins, 3/2005), lot 1295, as PR66 NGC, realized $1,322,500; Dan Rosenthal, owner of the "Just Having Fun" collection; purchased from Dan Rosenthal and his agent, Mitchell Spivack, by David Lawrence Rare Coins; sold to John Albanese for $1,900,000 in July of 2007; private collector. Plate coin for the 2005 edition of 100 Greatest U.S. Coins, by Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth and plated on the PCGS CoinFacts website. The present coin.
2. PR66 NGC, formerly PR65 PCGS. Possibly discovered in a bag of change by a banker in Ukiah, California in 1894; elderly woman, presumably the banker's daughter; sold to San Francisco coin dealer Earl Parker in 1949 for $2,750, along with one other example (see number 7 below), the sale was not revealed until 1951 and Parker sold both coins in 1954; unknown intermediaries; James Johnson; Abner Kreisberg; World-Wide Coin Co.; Bowers and Ruddy Galleries, listed in Rare Coin Review No. 21 at $97,500; John Deland; Orlando Sale (Superior, 8/1992), lot 104, realized $165,000; Spectrum Numismatics; Kevin Lipton; David Lawrence Rare Coins and David Schweitz in October, 2002; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2005), lot 30164, as PR65 PCGS, realized $1,035,000; Legend Numismatics; Simpson Collection. Plate coin for Walter Breen's Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Proof Coins and his Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins. Note: Traditionally this coin was attributed to Superintendent John Daggett of the San Francisco Mint, and his daughter Hallie, but recent research suggests this story is unreliable.
3. PR65 PCGS. John M. Clapp, before 1900; John H. Clapp; Clapp Estate; Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. in 1942, via Stack's; Eliasberg Collection, Part I (Bowers and Merena, 5/1996), lot 1250, realized $451,000; Harvey Stack; Holecek Family Trust; 65th Anniversary Sale (Stack's, 10/2000), lot 565, realized $431,250.
4. PR64+ PCGS. Adolph Menjou Collection (Numismatic Gallery, 6/1950), lot 311, realized $1,850; unknown intermediaries; Dr. Samuel Joseph Gillespie Collection (Art Kagin, 10/1984), lot 4176; Kagin's; private collector in 1985; 72nd Anniversary Sale (Stack's, 10/2007), lot 4921, realized $1,552,500; John Albanese; private collector; John Albanese; David Lawrence Rare Coins and anonymous partner in April 2013; Legend Numismatics in July 2013 for more than $2 million. Note: This coin was initially believed to be the same specimen as number 2 above, possibly because it shares some common pedigree markers, including a lintmark in the obverse field above the bust. Close examination convinces us that the coins are different examples, however, as the coin in number 2 has a noticeable planchet flaw between D in UNITED and Liberty's bust that does not appear on this coin.
5. PR62 NGC. Dr. Charles Cass; Empire Collection (Stack's, 11/1957), lot 881, realized $4,750; James Ruddy and Q. David Bowers; sold to Ambassador R. Henry Norweb for $6,000 in 1958; Norweb Collection, Part I (Bowers and Merena, 10/1987), lot 584, realized $77,000; Allen Lovejoy; 55th Anniversary Sale (Stack's, 10/1990), lot 504, realized $93,000; Jeffrey Bernberg, per Q. David Bowers; RARCOA (1991); Charles Littman (Coin Exchange, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania).
6. PR60. Waldo Newcomer; B. Max Mehl in the early 1930s, sold for $1,000 in 1933, per the Neil catalog; F.C.C. Boyd; World's Greatest Collection (Numismatic Gallery, 5/1945), lot 756, realized $2,350; Will W. Neil Collection (B. Max Mehl, 6/1947), lot 1433, realized $2,325; Edwin M. Hydeman Collection (Abe Kosoff, 3/1961), lot 387, realized $13,000; Empire Coin Company; Hazen B. Hinman; Century Collection (Paramount, 4/1965), lot 724, realized $12,250; Leo Young; Auction '80 (RARCOA, 7/1980), lot 1578; realized $145,000; Gary L. Young; Ron Gillio; Northern California Numismatic Association Convention (Pacific Coast Auctions, 9/1986), lot 110, realized $91,300; private collector.
7. Impaired Proof. Possibly discovered in a bag of change by a banker in Ukiah, California in 1894; elderly woman, presumably the banker's daughter; sold to San Francisco coin dealer Earl Parker in 1949 for $2,750, along with one other example (see number 2 above), the sale was not revealed until 1951 and Parker sold both coins in 1954; James Kelly; Malcolm Chell-Frost; F.S. Guggenheimer Collection (Stack's, 1/1953), lot 772, realized $2,100; Abner Kreisberg; Empire Coin Company; Abraham J. Kaufman; Joyce M. Kaufman; Sale of the '70s (Kagin's, 11/1973), lot 1114, realized $52,000; offered by Montrose Coin Gallery, of Montrose California, for $75,000; Superior Galleries in 1978; Dr. Jerry Buss Collection (Superior, 1/1985), lot 617, realized $50,600; Michelle Johnson, acting as agent for Robert Beaumont; Blevins-Bodway Collections (Superior, 6/1988), lot 4510, realized $70,400. Note: Traditionally this coin was attributed to Superintendent John Daggett of the San Francisco Mint, and his daughter Hallie, but recent research suggests this story is unreliable.
8. Good 4. Robert Friedberg, taken over the counter at Gimbels Department Store, New York, in 1957; Art Kagin; 51st Sale (New Netherlands, 6/1958), lot 581, realized $3,200; Art Kagin; Quarter Millennium Sale, Part II (Hollinbeck-Kagin, 8/1963), lot 553, realized $10,500; Million Dollar Sale (Harmer Rooke, 11/1969), lot 1038, realized $7,400; James G. Johnson; 1980 ANA (Steve Ivy Numismatic Auctions, 8/1980), lot 1804, realized $31,000; William R. Sieck Collection (Bowers and Ruddy, 8/1981), lot 2921, realized $25,500; Four Landmark Collections (Bowers and Merena, 3/1989), lot 191, $33,000; private collector. Note: This coin is traditionally attributed to Superintendent John Daggett and his daughter Hallie. She supposedly spent this specimen on ice cream in 1894. Recent research suggests it may have been a banker's daughter in Ukiah, California who actually spent this coin (see numbers 2 and 7 above).
9. AG3 NGC. Reportedly owned by a collector named Romito in 1911, per Walter Breen; another collector named Montesano, per Breen; consigned to two Stack's sales in 1942, but withdrawn; unknown intermediaries; John Hipps; Laura Sperber in 1990; private collector.
A. A specimen owned by Augustus G. Heaton, who reported his acquisition on page 70 of the March 1900 issue of The Numismatist. In the April 1928 issue of The Numismatist, Elmer Sears reported this coin was sold to H.O. Granberg, who exhibited it at the 1911 American Numismatic Association Convention and the 1914 ANS Exhibition. This is probably the coin in number 6 above, as many of Granberg's coins went to Newcomer.
B. A specimen located by J.C. Mitchelson, who reported his find in the June 1900 issue of The Numismatist. Curiously, this coin did not pass to the Connecticut State Library with the rest of Mitchelson's collection after his death. He was an active buyer and seller during his collecting days, so he may have sold the coin before donating his collection to the library.
C. A specimen offered to Jim Kelly by B.G. Johnson for $1385 on November 28, 1941. The invoice on the Newman Numismatic Portal is marked "Return 2/13/42." From the timing, this might be a Virgil Brand coin, but no definitive information has come to light.
D. "Colonel" E.H.R. Green; B.G. Johnson, offered to Sol Kaplan for $1,350 on April 26, 1943, per an invoice on the Newman Numismatic Portal. Possibly the coin in number 6 above, between the Mehl sale in 1933 and its acquisition by F.C.C. Boyd.
E. Louis R. Goodwin reported he had a specimen of the 1894-S dime in a letter to Stuart Mosher in the February 1949 issue of The Numismatist. He claimed to have owned the coin for 20 years.
F. The "Chicago Specimen," reportedly Dan Brown; Stack's: Chicago private collection. This coin was earlier attributed to John and Hallie Daggett, and Earl Parker, but that conflicts with other pedigrees. Most numismatists consider this an unconfirmed example, but it might also be the coin in number 4 above.
G. Samuel Rappaport, of Allentown, Pennsylvania; Art Kagin; advertised by Hollinbeck Coin Co. in the October 1952 issue of The Numismatist; Reuter; Abner Kreisberg; Empire Coin Company; mentioned in issue number 2 of Empire Topics, 1958; Pennsylvania estate. Untraced since the late 1950s.
From The Smoke Rise Collection.(Registry values: P10) (NGC ID# 23G7, PCGS# 4805)
Weight: 2.49 grams
Metal: 90% Silver, 10% Copper
Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.
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