US Coins

Inside Coin World: Spotlight on two 1916-S dimes

The 1916-S Barber dime was one of two 10-cent coins struck at the San Francisco Mint that year. Both it and the 1916-S Winged Liberty Head dime are in plentiful supply.

Original images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

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Coin Values Spotlight: Comparing two 1916-S dimes

The subsidiary silver coins were undergoing design changes in 1916, with the dime, quarter dollar and half dollar of Charles Barber’s design being replaced by new ones designed by committee-picked artists. As Christopher Bulfinch writes in his “Coin Values Spotlight” column in the June 17 issue of Coin World, dimes were struck at the San Francisco Mint with both designs.

The 1916-S Barber dime and 1916-S Winged Liberty Head dime are readily available today, though the Barber dime is the more expensive of the two. Still, both remain affordable in lower grades and even in Mint State.

To learn more about the two dimes, see the “Coin Values Spotlight” column, found only in the print and digital editions of Coin World.

Coin Lore: Dying from cleaning coins

Today, whether one should clean the coins in one’s collection remains the subject of debate, though it was less controversial in the past. While improper cleaning can harm a coin, it can also harm the person cleaning the coin. It can even kill you, as Gerald Tebben reports in his “Coin Lore” column.

J. Sanford Saltus was one of the most prominent numismatists in the world in the early 20th century. During a visit to London, he decided to multitask in his hotel room by having something to drink while cleaning coins. Then hotel personnel found him dead. An official inquiry blamed his death on the act of cleaning his coins.

To learn how cleaning some coins killed such a prominent collector, see Gerry’s column in the June 17 Coin World.

Numismatic Bookie: Counterfeiter biographies

Private publishers and writers produced a number of guides to counterfeit notes being found in circulation, all intended to help merchants distinguish between the good and bad notes being tendered in circulation. John S. Dye was the author of one series of “counterfeit detectors,” as these guides were called, but he also wrote a related book that was less popular with the public.

Joel J. Orosz writes about Dye’s guide to the counterfeiters themselves in his “Numismatic Bookie” column. The 1880 guide, The Government Blue Book: A Complete History of the Lives of all the Great Counterfeiters, Criminal Engravers and Plate Printers, did not sell as well as his other guides. Today, however, it is a welcome addition to a numismatic literature collector’s library.

You can learn more about the book and how Joel found a copy by reading his column, found only in the print and digital editions of Coin World.

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