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    Description

    1894-S Barber Dime, PR66
    'The Rarest Dime Ever Minted'
    The Plate Coin for Breen's Encyclopedias
    Tied for Finest of Just Nine Known Survivors

    1894-S 10C Branch Mint PR66 PCGS. Ex: Simpson. Few numismatic rarities capture the excitement and longing of collectors like the 1894-S dime. Few also are those whose stories encompass such a woven fabric of mystery and legend. In the words of Garrett and Guth in 100 Greatest U.S. Coins, the 1894-S dime has for decades been included with the 1913 Liberty nickel and the 1804 silver dollar "in a triumvirate of America's most desirable coins." Only nine specimens are known to survive. Yet, as much as this coin is sought-after for its rarity, it is just as beloved for the fanciful stories that have long surrounded its history.

    Perhaps the best place to begin unraveling the story of the 1894-S is in the year 1900, in the March issue of The Numismatist. There, Augustus G. Heaton wrote the first account in a numismatic publication of the dimes struck at San Francisco in 1894:

    "The San Francisco mint takes proudly to itself the sensation of later U.S. coinage in striking but $2.40 worth of dimes, or twenty-four 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."



    Ten pairs of 1894 dime working dies were shipped to San Francisco: five in November 1893 and five in January 1894. The San Francisco Mint had struck nearly 2.5 million dimes during the calendar year 1893, and continued coinage in 1894 was anticipated.

    The stock market crash of 1893 and the run on banks that followed proved to have a more lasting economic impact than originally expected. The Panic of '93 saw several hundred banks fail or temporarily cease operations in the latter half of 1893 and into 1894, especially in Midwestern and Western cities. The resultant slow in economic activity caused a plummet in silver dollar distribution from the mints and also reduced the need for new subsidiary silver coinage, particularly in the West. By May 1894, the San Francisco Mint had suspended the shipment of subsidiary coins entirely, and requests for such were redirected to the U.S. Assistant Treasurer at San Francisco.

    Silver dollar coinage at the West Coast branch mint resumed in the third quarter of the calendar year, but subsidiary coin production remained limited due to an oversupply of existing coinage. Mint correspondence from April 30, 1894 stated that San Francisco held a stockpile of nearly $37 million worth of silver coin, including ample amounts of the subsidiary denominations. Mint records further indicate that even though working dies were on hand throughout the year, no dimes were struck at the San Francisco Mint in 1894, with one exception: 24 pieces coined on June 9. This tiny dime mintage was recorded in the Report of the Mint Director for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1895, on the table for the calendar year 1894 production on pages 212-213.

    Per standard Mint practice, the superintendent reserved two of the dimes struck on June 9 for the special assay and sent them via registered mail to Mint Director Robert Preston. A letter dated June 25 tallies those two coins again as part of the total coinage reserved at San Francisco in June 1894 for the special assay. On June 28, a third piece was sent via Wells Fargo Express to the Philadelphia Mint superintendent for the annual assay. The remaining 21 pieces, if normal procedures continued, would have been placed with the Mint Cashier or in a bag for eventual distribution.

    Early Appearances and Numismatic Awareness
    A.G. Heaton was one of several prominent numismatists in 1894 to inquire directly with the San Francisco Mint about purchasing examples of the new 1894 dime coinage. It is not known from where he acquired the coin that he later wrote about in the March 1900 Numismatist article, but evidently, the piece did not directly come from the Mint. Collectors inquiring about 1894-S dimes prior to June 9 were told that no dimes of that year had yet been coined. Heaton and others who placed orders after June 9 were told, in some variation, "We have no 10 cent pieces coinage 1894." Their postage was either returned empty, or their order was filled with 1893-dated coins instead. The latter was the case for John M. Clapp upon his initial inquiry about new coins in November 1894. Unsatisfied, Clapp wrote the Mint again in January 1895, again requesting 1894-S dimes. Acting Superintendent Robert Barnett replied on January 14:

    "In reply to your favor 7th inst, I will respectfully state: there were a few dimes coined at this Mint during the year 1894, but we have none on hand at present."



    Clapp eventually obtained two examples of the rarity, although from where he did not specify in his notebooks. The acquisition was apparently unknown to Heaton when the March 1900 Numismatist article was written. Shortly thereafter, a fourth example was reported to be in the possession of J.C. Mitchelson, apparently coming from a source other than the Mint. A brief editorial by Dr. George Heath in the June 1900 issue of The Numismatist stated:

    "J.C. Mitchelson, of Kansas City, but who has business interests in San Francisco, and has been spending much time there, writes that he has discovered an 1894 S. dime. The mint authorities there inform him that while twenty-four were originally struck, only fourteen went into circulation, the remaining ten being restruck. None remain in the mint."



    There is no record of the San Francisco Mint formally supplying an 1894-S dime to any collector.

    Following the June 28, 1894 assay shipment, Mint records regarding the fate of the dimes end, and most of the coins seem to have disappeared. In the April 1928 issue of The Numismatist, Elmer S. Sears expressed knowledge of only three or four 1894-S dimes in collectors' hands. From his description, two of these were no doubt the pieces owned by J.M. Clapp, the third being the Heaton coin:

    "One man I know has two of them, and there are one each in two other collections. Mr. Granberg had one in his collection, which he bought from A.G. Heaton, of Washington. I am not sure whether Mr. Brand had one or not. If he did, then I know of four. If not, I know of but three specimens."



    The first public sale of an 1894-S dime occurred in 1933, nearly four decades after the coins were struck; B. Max Mehl sold the piece from the Newcomer collection for $1,000 to a then unnamed buyer. It is possible that this was the same coin that A.G. Heaton sold to H.O. Granberg after 1900, as Newcomer later acquired much of Granberg's collection. An 1894-S dime did not appear at public auction until May 1945, when Abe Kosoff sold F.C.C. Boyd's massive numismatic holdings under the banner "World's Greatest Collection." Boyd's 1894-S dime was also the former Newcomer specimen. The catalog description read:

    "The rarest dime ever minted. As a matter of fact, this is one of the rarest of all U.S. coins. The mint record indicates that 24 pieces were coined but it is impossible to trace more than 5 pieces. This coin is a splendid proof specimen and excessively rare. See plate."



    The lot realized $2,350, a staggering amount for the period and by far the highest price realized by any coin in the sale.

    Another, heavily worn example, in private collections since 1911, was consigned to a couple of different Stack's auctions in 1942, three years prior to the Boyd sale, but it was withdrawn before the auctions. The Clapp coins were purchased by Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. in his famous 1942 acquisition of the Clapp Estate. Eliasberg retained one in his collection, and the other was sold in the 1947 Stack's auction of Eliasberg's duplicates under the alias collection name H.R. Lee. Later, an example surfaced in the June 1950 Adolph Menjou sale by Numismatic Gallery. In 1957, a new specimen, also heavily worn, showed up in circulation at Gimbels Department Store in New York, and in November of that year, another new piece was sold in Stack's Empire Collection sale.

    Only one previously untraced example appeared in a public auction after the 1950s, in the Gillespie Collection, sold by Art Kagin in 1984. By that time, the 1894-S dime had fully ascended to the highest pedestal of U.S. coinage rarity and fame.

    Contemporary Origin Theories
    For most of its history, the 1894-S dime's story was, as Walter Breen put it, extremely fragmentary. Over the years, multiple theories were advanced to explain the small mintage and the even smaller survivorship. Two of these theories gained particular traction in the numismatic community over an extended period of time due to the fact that they were derived from information apparently acquired from San Francisco Mint officials.

    The first theory to be published appeared in Edgar H. Adams' numismatic column in the March 29, 1908 issue of the New York Sun. Adams, relating information from Frank C. Berdan, who was weigher at the San Francisco Mint in 1894, states that a small number of dimes were struck in July 1894 to be sent to Philadelphia for the annual assay, since it was anticipated that although dimes had not yet been coined for circulation, such an order would no doubt be placed before the end of the year. An excerpt of the article is reproduced in Q. David Bowers' A Guide Book of Barber Coinage:

    "[Mr. Berdan] says that there may have been twenty-four of these and there may have been less, probably not over twenty, as the matter of counting them was not deemed to be of importance. Two or three pieces in fact, he said, would have answered the requirements just well.

    "He 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 again being brought into requisition."



    According to Adams, the two coins that Berdan kept later "fell into the hands of a well known mint mark collector." It is possible that this was a reference to J.M. Clapp and/or A.G. Heaton.

    Berdan certainly would have been a credible source for information. As weigher in 1894, he would have been one of the few individuals with possible first-hand knowledge of the 1894-S dime coinage. Therefore, some of the information outlined by Adams is likely true. However, standard Mint practice at the time for supplying coins for assay was to select pieces from existing mintages. The Mint would not have struck coins specifically for assay without an existing dime coinage to assay. Since Mint records indicate no orders for dimes had been placed with the San Francisco Mint prior to the coinage of the 24 pieces, the theory that the dimes were struck solely for assay purposes holds little water today.

    The other contemporary theory that gained the most widespread acceptance was first published in the April 1928 issue of The Numismatist. There, Farran Zerbe related another, similar account of the 1894-S dime's coinage. Differing from Adams, however, Zerbe claimed that the reason for the coinage of just 24 dimes was to balance a bullion account for the fiscal year:

    "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 into 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 ... 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. ... My information about the limited coinage was obtained at the San Francisco mint in 1905."



    Since the Zerbe theory did not defy standard Mint practices of the time, it became the primary theory for many decades.

    The Ice Cream Story
    The origin theory most familiar to modern collectors first appeared in a June 27, 1973 Coin World article by James Johnson. Johnson first wrote an article about the 1894-S dime in September 1972, compiling a roster of all examples known to the numismatic community at that time. His 1973 update was in response to a letter that he received from a man named Guy Chapman. Chapman's letter contained the first written account tying the coinage of the dimes to Superintendent John Daggett and his young daughter Hallie. Johnson wrote:

    "Guy L. Chapman of California wrote that one evening in 1954, the late Earl Parker came into the Redwood Empire Coin Club and put two dimes in Chapman's hand. They were the two 1894-S dimes Parker had just acquired from Hallie Daggett, daughter of the San Francisco Mint superintendent in 1894.

    "Parker offered them to Chapman, but Chapman said he had to check with his wife before spending that kind of money! When he got home, he and his wife agreed that he should buy them, but it was very late and he didn't want to call Parker at that time of night. He would call at 9 o'clock the next day. Chapman's birth year was 1894, one reason for the interest.

    "He did call, but Parker told him he had sold the coins before breakfast. Presumably they were Nos. 5 and 9 in my earlier Coin World listing.

    "Here's the important part: at the Redwood Empire Coin Club Parker repeated what Hallie Daggett had told him when he bought the coins from her. She said this:

    "In 1894 a banker friend of Daggett's found there would be no dimes struck that year. So he asked Daggett to make some pieces especially for a small group of friends. There were 24 struck, and eight of eight people got three, including Daggett.

    "Daggett gave three to his daughter Hallie who was around and told her to put them away until she was as old as he was, and then she could sell them for a good price.

    "On the way home she spent one for a dish of ice cream. The other two she put away until she sold them to Earl Parker in 1954. What is not known is who the other seven people were or whether they were connected with the Mint in any way.

    "There is no reason to disbelieve Hallie Daggett's story. There is every reason to believe that later the Mint would say anything rather than admit what was done, hence the conflicting reports given out in the later years."



    Walter Breen published this story in his writings, and as a result, it gained widespread acceptance. The well-worn example that showed up in circulation in 1957 was even affectionately dubbed "The Ice Cream Coin." Indeed, the charming tale of young Hallie Daggett being given three rare dimes for safe keeping by her father at the Mint, and then spending one of them on ice cream on the way home because it was hot, is an endearing story that has become something of numismatic legend in recent decades. However, more thorough research reveals that at least portions of this story are not accurate.

    The problem is first about the claim that 24 dimes were struck for eight people, each receiving three coins. As we now know, three of the 24 1894-S dimes struck were assayed, leaving a net mintage of only 21 pieces. This means there could not have been 24 coins to go around. This notion also contradicts the story of Weigher Berdan saving two pieces "just to have a new dime," as is described by two different contemporary accounts.

    Moreover, Superintendent John Daggett, being sick with sciatica for much of the year, had little to do with Mint affairs during the period in which the coinage took place. Chief Clerk Robert Barnett assumed the role of acting superintendent, and it is his signature that appears on most of the Mint correspondence of the period, including letters accompanying the 1894-S dimes sent for assay and replies sent to collector requests for the new dimes. It is therefore most likely that Acting Superintendent Barnett, not Daggett, ordered the striking of the 24 dimes, and not for the purpose of distributing them to banker friends. Moreover, if Daggett had ordered the coinage and retained three pieces, why not give one to each of his three living children, not just Hallie? Also, in June 1894, Daggett could not have known with certainty that no additional dimes would be struck at San Francisco that year, so he would not have known that the coins produced June 9 would one day be valuable. This is also an obvious problem for the whole premise of the story, namely that the coins were struck by request from bankers who were said to have known that no dime coinage would occur.

    Piecing Together the Past
    In a February 2006 Coin World article, Nancy Oliver and Richard Kelly brought to light a long-overlooked interview from an October 1895 edition of the San Francisco Bulletin, which was later reproduced in various papers across the country. It detailed an explanation that Chief Clerk Robert Barnett gave to a reporter concerning the production of the 24 dimes. The critical portion of the article reads:

    "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."



    In a letter dated April 7, 1894, Superintendent Daggett detailed a transfer order from the U.S. Assistant Treasurer at San Francisco depositing $1 million worth of uncurrent silver coin at the Mint for recoinage. The transfer consisted of mainly half dollars and quarters, but included all subsidiary denominations. As stated by Barnett, standard Mint practice was to recoin the silver into current coinage. As acting superintendent, Barnett would have been the primary authority on any orders given concerning the recoinage of this uncurrent silver. If a tiny amount of silver from redeposited uncurrent coin had been left over in June, it is reasonable that an order would have been given to recoin it in whatever denomination was necessary before the close of the fiscal year.

    Barnett's account of the 1894-S dime coinage shares several similarities with the accounts of Adams and Zerbe, both of whom are believed to have gleaned their information directly from Mint officials. Some of the dimes were in fact assayed, as Adams suggests, although that alone does not appear to have been the reason for their coinage. Moreover, the events described by Barnett leave the possibility for Weigher Berdan or another Mint employee to have saved a couple of examples of the new coinage, as both Adams and Zerbe suggest happened. It is also entirely possible that if Berdan had saved two of the coins and later discovered they were rare, he may have in fact sold them for $25 apiece to a ready buyer, as Zerbe describes. That buyer would most likely have been J.M. Clapp, who sometime between 1895 and 1900 acquired two specimens after repeated unsuccessful inquiries with the Mint. Also, if the events described by Barnett transpired according to normal Mint practices, any of the 24 dimes not assayed or saved by Mint personnel would have gone into circulation, providing a convenient explanation of why two of the known survivors are heavily worn and so many others are entirely lost.

    Barnett's 1895 interview is by far the most credible account put forth of the 1894-S dime's coinage. Coming from a Mint official who above all others should have had first-hand knowledge of the events that transpired, it strongly suggests that at the time of coinage no thought was given to creating a rarity. Barnett apparently realized the rarity of the coins after being unable to fill orders for them from collectors. It makes sense, then, that until the end of 1894, Barnett told inquiring collectors that they had "none on hand," while beginning in January 1895, he began adding that only a small number of pieces had even been struck; prior to that, the possibility had remained that more coinage could have been ordered and Barnett would have been able to fill the collector orders then.

    The Proof Question
    High-grade 1894-S dimes have several prooflike characteristics, including reflective fields and uniformly sharp strikes. In combination with early speculation concerning the production of the coins, these have led to the '94-S dimes being classified from an early date as branch mint proofs. Breen further advanced this classification in his Proof Encyclopedia. Today, the major grading services authenticate 1894-S dimes as proofs as well. However, if Barnett's account of the circumstances surrounding the coinage is correct, the coins were not struck with specially prepared dies on polished planchets, but were instead ordinary business strikes; all prooflike characteristics are due to the fact that the dies were new. Debate concerning this point is likely unimportant, however, for regardless of whether the dimes are classified as proofs or business strikes today, the historical and numismatic importance of ownership remains unchanged.

    The Present Coin: The Gem of the Ice Cream Story
    The two pieces that Earl Parker showed at the Redwood Empire Coin Club in 1954 are arguably the most famous of the nine known 1894-S dimes. Long dubbed the "Daggett Specimens," after the charming but likely fictional account of Hallie Daggett and the dish of ice cream, these two coins embody everything that collectors love about the 1894-S dime's story. Of those two pieces, the one offered here is by far the finer specimen.

    A dissection of the Hallie Daggett story casts significant doubt on the superintendent's daughter's connection to the dimes, but the fact remains that Earl Parker did indeed purchase two pieces from an elderly woman prior to 1954. If not Daggett, though, who was the woman? Guy Chapman's account of Parker's dimes as told to James Johnson in the 1970s may contain contradicting impossibilities, but another account of the Parker dimes' origin is interestingly plausible.

    Ken Jordan, later president of the Rosemont Coin Club in 1959, was with Chapman at the Redwood Empire Coin Club when Parker offered the two rare dimes. In preparing his reference work on the 1894-S dime in 2005, researcher Kevin Flynn had a conversation with Jordan, who told a strikingly different account of the Parker dimes. Flynn writes:

    "The author spoke with Ken Jordan from California recently. ... Mr. Jordan was with Guy Chapman when Earl Parker came to the coin show and offered the two 1894-S dimes for sale for $500 per dime. Mr. Jordan remembered the story that Earl Parker had told him, that he Mr. Parker had purchased the coin from a daughter of a banker who lived in Ukiah, CA. Mr. Jordan did not remember Hallie Daggett being mentioned. Mr. Jordan also remembered that it was from a banker's daughter, but did not remember hearing from Earl Parker the version that a banker's friend of Mr. Daggett asked Mr. Daggett to strike the coins and seven individuals received three coins each."



    Flynn adds:

    "Dave Bowers knew Earl Parker back during the 1950s. Mr. Bowers asked Mr. Parker details about the story and stated that Mr. Parker was elusive. Mr. Bowers stated that Mr. Parker never mentioned Hallie Daggett as the source of the 1894-S dimes.

    "Ken Bressett also knew Earl Parker back in the 1950s. Mr. Bressett stated that he did not remember Earl Parker ever mentioning Hallie Daggett or the banker friend's story."



    Jordan's account is strikingly similar to a curious bulletin that was published in the February 1951 issue of Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine, three years before Parker offered the coins to Chapman in 1954. The article details the reported sale of two specimens of the elusive 1894-S Barber dime:

    "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 some day 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."



    Jordan's account of the Parker coins is obviously related to this story, published three years before Parker offered the coins to Chapman, and it provides convincing support for the narrative. It is plausible that a banker in Ukiah, California may have found a few 1894-S dimes in a sealed Mint bag in 1894 or 1895 and given the coins to his young daughter. On the way home, according to two independent accounts, she spent one of the dimes on ice cream but retained the other two. In 1949, she sold them to Earl Parker. According to a record, Parker exhibited an 1894-S dime at both the 1949 and 1950 California State Numismatic Association shows. Either Parker or Chapman later confused or embellished the story of these two dimes, replacing the Ukiah banker's daughter with Hallie Daggett.

    The Jordan account of the Parker dimes is clearly the more credible version of the story, and it is conveniently cohesive with the most likely events surrounding the coinage of the dimes in general.

    After Parker sold this piece in 1954, it went into the possession of James Johnson and later, Abner Kreisberg. It appeared at public auction for the first time in Superior's August 1992 Orlando Sale, after spending approximately 20 years in a private collection. In 2005, it changed hands in our January FUN Signature, where it garnered $1,035,000, being the first 1894-S dime to breach the seven-figure barrier at public auction.

    This piece is one of the two finest-known specimens. It is tied in numerical grade with the PR66 PCGS Eliasberg-Richmond coin, which has long been classified as the finest '94-S dime known. However, the origin of this piece as one of the two Parker coins from the beloved ice cream story makes it arguably the more famous of the two.

    Physical Description and Conclusion
    Examples of the 1894-S dime tend to disappear into tightly held private collections for staggeringly long periods of time. In recent years, only a couple of specimens have changed hands at auction. Indeed, this is only the present coin's third auction appearance in the 126 years since it was struck at San Francisco, and it has been off of the market for the past 15 years. With the Simpson pedigree, one would expect nothing but the best possible quality for this piece, and indeed, it delivers just that. All of the prooflike characteristics of high-end 1894-S dimes are beautifully rendered and preserved. Attractive original toning accents deeply reflective fields with flakes of yellow-gold, lilac, mint-green, and blue, while razor-sharp devices contrast against the fields with subtle mint frost. The preservation is second to none. A tiny planchet indentation between the D in UNITED and Liberty's cap has long been a useful pedigree marker for this piece.

    The 1894-S Barber dime continually captivates collectors and numismatic researchers alike. Despite the woven fabric of legend and myth surrounding its history, it stands apart from peers such as the 1913 Liberty nickel and 1804 silver dollar that were struck under clandestine or deliberately special circumstances. All evidence points to the 1894-S being the product of ordinary Mint production, whose extreme rarity was created without intention. The fact that most of the pieces not assayed were either lost or only survived heavily worn suggests that the bulk of the mintage was, in fact, released into circulation, in agreement with most contemporary accounts. The 1894-S is a true collector coin. However, its 24-coin mintage, coupled with perhaps the most famous numismatic origin story in American coinage, makes it something of a legend itself. In the words of David Lawrence, it is "a numismatic giant" you can hold in the palm of your hand - and, with the opportunity of this offering, maybe actually own.

    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, Jeff Ambio, and Q. David Bowers. 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, formerly PR66 NGC. 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 5 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. The present coin. 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.
    2. 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 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; FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2016), lot 5317, realized $1,997,500. 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.
    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. 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; Mark Wieder and John Feigenbaum partnership; Bruce Morelan; John Albanese; Blanchard. Note: This coin was initially believed to be the same specimen as number 1 above, possibly because it shares some common pedigree markers, including a lint mark 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. PR63 PCGS. CAC. 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 1 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, 11/1973), lot 1114, realized $52,000; 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; E. Horatio Morgan Collection (Stack's Bowers, 8/2019), lot 5178, realized $1,320,000. 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.
    6. PR63 NGC. 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. Note: Numismatic Crime Information Center and the LaPlata County Sheriff's Department reported this coin stolen on March 30, 2019.
    7. 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).
    8. Good 4. Robert Friedberg, taken over the counter at Gimbels Department Store, New York, in 1957; Art Kagin; New Netherlands Coin Co. (51st Sale, 6/1958) lot 581, realized $3,200; Art Kagin; 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 1 and 5 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.

    Additional Appearances
    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 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. Adolph Menjou Collection (Numismatic Gallery, 6/1950), lot 311, realized $1,850.
    D. 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.
    E. The "Rappaport Specimen", reportedly from a collector named Rappaport; Art Kagin; Reuter; Abner Kreisberg; Empire Coin Company; mentioned in issue number 2 of Empire Topics, 1958; Pennsylvania estate. Untraced since the late 1950s and considered unconfirmed by most numismatists.(Registry values: P10)

    Coin Index Numbers: (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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    September, 2020
    17th Thursday
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