US Coins

Colorful Proof 1893 Barber dime

Heritage’s Dec. 13 Premier Session auction in Beverly Hills, California, offered several coins whose grades contained a plus sign that translated into higher prices than coins of the same grade without the plus designation, including for a spectacular Barber dime.

Charles Barber’s dignified obverse design shared on the Barber dimes, quarter dollars and half dollars that carry his name was first used in 1892.

Examples of all three denominations saw large mintages that first year as collectors and noncollectors alike wanted a representative. By 1893 demand cooled and the mintage of Proof Barber dimes fell from 1,245 in 1892 to 792 in 1893. 

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Proof Barber coins can show spectacular color and this one has what Heritage calls “unquestionably original deep violet, rose, and cobalt-blue patina with gold and mint-green accents.” The symmetry and concentric circles of jewel tones are universally appealing and the high-end dime graded Proof 67+ by Professional Coin Grading Service with a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker brought $3,840 on Dec. 13 in the Heritage auction. 

Legend sold a more uniformly toned example graded PCGS Proof 67, also with a green CAC sticker in its Sept. 27 Regency Auction 28 in Las Vegas for $2,350, observing, “Proof Barbers have just really been beaten in today’s market. A coin like this used to be worth $3,500+, the last PCGS PR67 CAC sold for only $2,200 in an August 2016 internet auction,” before advising bidders, “NOW is the time to put together a set!”

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