The Barber Dime was minted from 1892 to 1916. Designed by Charles Barber, the design obverse was the same as the Barber Quarter and Barber Half Dollar. Truely unoriginal and uninspired. Even looking at my 1906 set from Half to Penny, the only coin not designed by Barber is the penny in this set. That doesn’t mean these coins don’t have value, they absolutely do. There is a set of the collecting population who love the Barber series of coins. Despite their similar designs, the appeal of any Barber is that it’s consistent.
The obverse has a depiction of Lady Liberty. She is wearing a Phrygian cap, a laurel wreath with a ribbon, and a headband with the inscription “LIBERTY.” The inscription is a factor in determining wear on this dime. The reverse featured the words ONE DIME surrounded by a wreath.
This series of dime is generally a good starting point for beginning collectors in good to very good circulated conditions. They are plentiful and reasonably priced. These can be collected by year, mint mark, and condition. Many experienced collectors prefer high grade examples of the Barber Dime. Mid grade examples are reasonably priced for a beginner to this series or to collecting in general. Often, circulated non-graded examples in a gradeable condition can be had at very reasonable cost. Signs of wear can first be seen on Liberty’s cheek and in the fields.
At one time, Barber dimes were minted at 4 mints. These include Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco and New Orleans. The mint marks can be found at the knot below the bow on the reverse. There is no mark for Philadelphia.
The 1895-O, 1901-S and 1913-S each have a mintage of less than 500,000 making them semi-key dates to look for due to lower mintage. There is also an 1893/2 over-strike. Otherwise, there are no significantly rare dates in this series except for the legendary 1894-S which was ordered to be struck by San Francisco Mint Superintendent J. Daggett. Only 24 examples were struck and today, only ten can be accounted for. This particular coin isn’t something the average collector will ever have so eliminating that from your desired list of coins is best. The complete set without it is still a complete set.
Proofs were struck each year except for 1916. Some collectors prefer proof sets and, certainly, are at least worth looking into. A complete set of circulated coins does not require proof sets, however.
Charles Barber designs, in general, lack artistic merit. Despite that, Barber series of coins are quite popular among collectors. They are easy to obtain, fun to own and fun to collect. Further, the Barber Dime is small, they can be found in really decent conditions and should be considered a strong contender for your collecting dollars.
Diameter: 17.9 millimeters Weight: 2.50 grams Composition: .900 silver, .100 copper Edge: Reeded Net Weight: 0.0723 ounce pure silver