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The Barber series of coins, minted between 1892 and 1916, represent the end of an era. The head of liberty had graced our coins since 1793. In the Barber series, Liberty took on the appearance of a generic Roman emperor. The designs were never popular. Teddy Roosevelt disliked the designs so much, that he finally had the series brought to a conclusion.

Charles Barber

Charles Barber designed the Liberty Head nickel,dime, quarter, and half dollar. The silver coins are often refered to as " Barber" coins, although the nickel is not. His father, William was chief engraver of the mint, who hired his son as an assistant, despite what many saw as a lack of talent.  When William Barber died, Charles took over as the chief engraver.

Reverse designs

The reverse of the dime featured a wreath with the words "one dime" in the center. The design is similar to what was used on the seated liberty dime (1837-1891). The quarter and half dollar featured an eagle reverse.

The 1894-S Barber Dime

In 1894, a mere 24 coins were minted in San Francisco. John Daggett, the superintendent of the San Francisco Mint, gave three of the coins to his daughter, Hallie. On the way home, Hallie spent one of them on ice cream. Years later, the coin, now well worn, surfaced. The coin sold for a mere $2.40 in Gimbel's department store in New York in 1957. In 1981, the now-famous "ice cream" dime was auctioned for $34,100. Today there are only ten 1894-S Barber dimes known. Eight of them were carefully preserved and are technnically considered proofs. Two are well worn. This means that there are fourteen 1894-S Barber dimes that are unaccounted for. Dr. Planchet wishes you the best of luck in finding one.

Collecting Barber coins

The Barber series is not the most popular series to collect. Therefore, the common dates can be found reasonably priced. Many collectors are satisfied with worn versions of the coins (in good to fine condition). There was little interest in preserving Barber coins at the time they were minted. Therefore, the become scarce and expensive in higher grades. Besides the 1894-S dime, the scarce dime include: 1894-O,1895, 1895-O,1896-O,1896-S, 1897-O, 1901-S, 1903-S,and 1904-S. The scarce barber quarters are: 1896-S, 1897-S, 1901-S, 1913-S,and 1914-S. The most valuable barber halves are 1892-O, 1892-S, 1893-S, 1896-S, 1897-S,and 1915.