Barber coin journal explores series

Writer asks, When is a variety not a variety?
Published : 10/18/11
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When is a variety not a variety? When it’s too worn to tell, says Steve Husted, variety coordinator for the Barber Coin Collectors’ Society.

In the current issue of the Journal of the Barber Coin Collectors’ Society, Husted describes examining a Very Good 1908-O Barber dime and a Good 1909-D Barber dime submitted to the society by a collector who believed the coins to exhibit an obverse hub change.

In making his case, the collector used the positioning of the laurel leaf points atop Liberty’s head in relationship to the second S in STATES as the key attribution point.

The laurel tips on the lower grade Denver Mint strike appeared more distinct, while those on the flatly struck, but higher grade New Orleans Mint dime almost blended into the coin’s background. The differences in the appearance of the leaf points led the collector to the conclusion that the dies striking the coins exhibited hub differences. The collector was incorrect, however.

“The flat strike and blending in with the coin’s field also made the leaf tip appear farther away from that ‘S’ than it really is,” Husted said.

Husted explains Barber dimes did undergo obverse hub changes, but that was in 1901, the same year reverse hub changes were also made. The 1901 reverse hub changes resulted in both reverse hub types appearing on Barber dime strikes from most Mints from 1901 through 1904, but not in 1908 or 1909.

In other Barber coin news related in the journal, Michael Fey reports his recent acquisition of a certified 1893-S/S/S Barber dime, graded About Uncirculated 58 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. The coin exhibits a triple repunched S Mint mark.

The journal also reports that BCCS will conduct beginning in January the first in a four-part series of variety census studies on Barber coinage, starting with quarter dollars.

Also in the journal, John Frost illustrates a number of certified Proof Barber coins that were sold in an August auction in New Hampshire staged by Centennial Auctions. Lots in the auction included a 1907 Barber quarter dollar, graded NGC Proof 68★ cameo; an NGC Proof 67+ 1897 Barber half dollar; and an NGC Proof 66★ cameo 1906 Liberty Head 5-cent coin.

BCCS dues cost $15 per year to U.S. addresses and $20 in U.S. funds to Canadian addresses. For information about the BCCS or for back issues of the journal, contact the society’s secretary-treasurer and journal editor, Eileen Ribar, at 2053 Edith Place, Merrick, NY 11566. She may be reached by telephone at 516-379-4681 or via email at

Visit the BCCS website at ■

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