CAC Coins For Less Than $150 Each, Part 3: Barber Dimes

by Greg Reynolds

Published on August 11, 2021

1894-O Barber Dime PCGS VG10 CAC (Heritage Auctions)
1894-O Barber Dime PCGS VG10 CAC (Heritage Auctions)


The first part of this series was about classic U.S. copper coins. The second focused on Buffalo nickels. The topic here of the third part is CAC approved Barber Dimes that have sold for less than $150 each.


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The first part of this series was about classic U.S. copper coins. The second focused on Buffalo nickels. The topic here of the third part is CAC approved Barber Dimes that have sold for less than $150 each.

Of course, a set of CAC approved Barber dimes cannot be completed for less than $150 per coin. The overall theme is that many CAC approved coins are modestly priced. Auction reports and headlines in publications often feature coins that sold for vast sums. Collectors should realize that many collecting projects are not very expensive in the context of market values for classic U.S. coins. Excellent collections may be built for modest amounts.

greysheet newsAdditionally, collectors who are unsure as to how to proceed and collectors who wish to learn about some series may sample CAC approved coins without spending much money. After reading about coins, buying some relatively inexpensive coins, asking questions, and carefully viewing actual coins, each collector should form a plan that is suitable for him or her. Indeed, it is a good idea to learn before committing to a project that will cost an amount that the respective collector regards as a lot of money.

In the realm of classic U.S. coins, Barber dimes are relatively inexpensive and are much scarcer than coins of series that began during the 20th century. Barber dimes were minted from 1892 to 1916. The least scarce dates are fairly common, though are much scarcer than most Mercury dimes and Walking Liberty half dollars.

A secondary theme here is the idea of forming a set of business strike Barber dimes in which the common dates are collected in About Uncirculated to Mint State grades and better dates are collected in Very Fine to AU grades. A collector may save money by purchasing semi-key dates in grades below VF20. The primary theme, though, relates to the idea of collecting relatively low cost, CAC approved coins. Obtaining these should be interesting and educational.

In the premier issue of The CAC Rare Coin Market Review (Vol. I: No. 1, August 2019), I explain my view of the benefits of buying CAC approved coins. As all the coins mentioned herein have been CAC approved after having been graded by PCGS or NGC, I will not mention CAC, PCGS and NGC over and over again. In other words, each coin mentioned here was graded by PCGS or NGC and has a green CAC sticker on its respective holder.

On April 25, 2021, the firm called GreatCollections sold a MS62 grade 1892 dime for $124.88. While the 1892 is very common, the 1893 is a better date.

During the year 2020, collectors had two opportunities to acquire the same CAC approved 1893 dime for less than $150. On Feb. 4, 2020, Heritage sold an AU58 grade 1893 for $109. Later, on Nov. 1, 2020, the firm called GreatCollections sold the same coin with the same PCGS serial number for $135.12.

The 1894-O is a much better date. David Lawrence Feigenbaum refers to the 1894-O as “one of the semi-keys in low grade” in his book, “The Complete Guide to Barber Dimes” (Virginia Beach, VA: DLRC Press, 1991).

Back in June 2011, Heritage sold a VG10 grade 1894-O for $132.25. The CAC population report indicates that CAC approved, G4 and VG8 grade 1894-O dimes, as well as another VG10 1894-O, exist. These would probably sell for less than $150 each if offered in 2021. The only currently stickered 1895 dime that might very well sell for less than $150, if available, has been CAC approved as G4.

The 1895-O is really the only key date among business strikes. The 1894-S is definitely not a business strike. Most relevant experts regard 1894-S dimes as Proofs. This discussion is about business strikes.

Before acquiring an 1895-O, a collecting plan should be formed. A CAC approved 1895-O would be likely to cost dramatically more than the coins cited in this discussion.

The 1895-S is a much better date, though is nowhere near as scarce as the 1895-O. About Good (AG), Good and Very Good grade 1895-S dimes retail for less than $150 each. Not one 1895-S, however, has been CAC approved in the P01 to VG10 range.

On March 13, 2012, Heritage sold an XF45 grade 1896 dime for $96. This coin would probably retail for a price in the $120 to $145 range in the present.

CAC has approved two AU55 grade and three AU58 grade 1897 dimes. All five are believed to have current retail values below $150 each. In grades above VG8, 1896-O, 1896-S and 1897-O dimes are scarce and will tend to cost far more than $150 each.

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CAC has not approved any 1897-O dimes that grade below F15. On July 18, 2017, Heritage sold a G4 1897-S for $35. This is the only CAC stickered 1897-S dime below F15 and one of only two that grade below VF35.

On Feb. 4, 2020, Heritage sold an AU58 1898 grade dime for $84. Although an 1899 dime is not a rarity, it is a true 19thcentury date. If someone sought just one Barber dime for a type set of CAC approved coins, an 1899 might be a neat, low cost selection. Multiple CAC approved 1899 dimes have sold for less than $150 each.

Indeed, on November 18, 2018, GreatCollections sold two MS63 grade 1899 dimes and each realized $146.25. About a month earlier, on October 16, 2018, Heritage sold a different MS63 grade 1899, which brought $138. On Aug. 23, 2011, Heritage sold an AU58 grade 1899 for $84.

On Oct. 15, 2011, Heritage sold an XF40 grade 1899-S for $69. On Nov. 16, 2013 in New York City, Heritage auctioned an AU50 1899-S for $129.25, which was formerly in the collections of Eric Newman and Col. E. H. R. Green. Both names are printed on the label inside its holder.

The next lot in the same Newman sale in New York was an AU58 grade 1900-S, which brought $141. This 1900-S was not from the Col. Green Collection, though it has the special Newman Collection label inside its NGC holder. A F12 grade 1902-S dime in the same sale also has such a label. This Newman 1902-S realized $129.25.

The Newman sale of November 2013 in New York was one of the greatest auctions in the history of coin collecting. Although most of the excitement related to pre-1865 U.S. silver coins that were auctioned during the night of Nov. 15, these three CAC approved Barber dimes are relatively low cost relics from the Eric Newman Collection in general and this landmark auction in particular.

There are many CAC approved Barber dimes from the first decade of the 20th century that sold for less than $150 each over the last ten or eleven years. While no one should count on all these or equivalent items being available soon, these are around and more circulated Barber dimes may very well be approved by CAC in the future, especially if more collectors communicate an interest in them.

On February 4, 2020, Heritage sold a MS63 grade 1903 dime for $126. Back in 2014, GreatCollections sold a VG8 1903-S, a better date, for $110.

On December 27, 2020, GreatCollections sold an MS62 1905 for $135. On June 7, 2020, GreatCollections sold an AU53 grade 1905-S for $129.38.

On May 21, 2017, GreatCollections sold an AU58 1906 for $106.70. On Jan. 12, 2013, Heritage auctioned an AU55 1906-D for $129.25.

On Oct. 15, 2011, Heritage auctioned a VF35 grade 1906-O for $89. If this 1906-O was offered in 2021, it would probably have a retail value in the range of $110 to $140.

On January 29, 2020, Stack’s-Bowers auctioned an MS63 1907 for $132. On Nov. 18, 2018, GreatCollections sold an AU55 1907-D for $104.73.

Back on July 29, 2012, Heritage sold an XF45 grade 1907-D for $65. Two days later, Heritage sold a VF30 grade 1907-O for $54. This is the lowest graded 1907-O dime approved by CAC.

On April 14, 2013, Heritage auctioned an AU55 1908 dime for $66. On Aug. 23, 2011, Heritage sold an AU58 1908 for $109.25. On July 31, 2012, Heritage sold an XF40 grade 1908-D for $49.

On July 28, 2019, GreatCollections sold an XF45 1908-O for $129.42. The next day, the same firm sold an AU58 1909 for $109.16. On Oct. 15, 2011, Heritage sold a VF35 grade 1909-D for $126.50.

On April 7, 2019, GreatCollections sold an AU53 1909-O for $148.50. On Oct. 15, 2011, Heritage sold a VF25 1909-S for $149.50 and a VF35 1909-S for $132.25. Yes, a CAC approved, PCGS graded VF35 1909-S realized less than a CAC approved, PCGS graded VF25 1909-S on the same day. Coins must really be examined in actuality to be properly analyzed.

On May 19, 2019, the firm of David Lawrence sold an AU55 1910 for $75. On Feb. 4, 2020, Heritage sold an AU55 1910-D for $104.

On Oct. 20, 2011, David Lawrence sold an MS62 1911 for $127. As for 1911-D dimes, there are no CAC approved coins grading below AU58, probably because very few have been submitted. In theory, there could be many of them. The four CAC approved AU58 grade 1911-D dimes each have an estimated retail value of $108, according to the CPG®-CAC guide.

On June 14, 2015, Heritage sold an AU58 1912 for $129.25. On Feb. 4, 2020, Heritage sold an AU58 1912-D for $84. On June 2, 2013, GreatCollections sold an AU58 1912-S for $139.70. Therefore, over the last eight years, CAC approved representatives of 1912, 1912-D and 1912-S dimes publicly sold for less than $140 each.

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On July 28, 2019, GreatCollections sold an MS62 1913 dime for $109.14. There never were any 1913-D dimes. On Dec. 16, 2018, GreatCollections sold a VG10 grade 1913-S for $56.12.

Over the last four years, GreatCollections sold CAC approved, Barber dimes of the year 1914 from the Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco Mints for less than $150 each. On Aug. 6, 2017, a MS63 grade 1914 realized $148.50. On July 12, 2020, a MS62 grade 1914-D brought $130.61. On June 7, 2020, GreatCollections sold an AU55 grade 1914-S for $88.88.

When I was five or six years old, my grandmother gave me a 1914-D dime. Later, she gave me additional Barber dimes, including a couple more dated 1914-D. That first one, however, was very important to me. I treasured it for years. Before I was eleven years old, I aggressively collected Barber dimes.

Regrettably, while I was a college student, I sold most of my collection, including my Barber dimes, to help pay for trips to visit my girlfriend who attended a college in another state. I really wish I had kept that 1914-D. I can still envision it in my mind, around F12 grade with pearl gray devices. The fields were a blend of dark gray and tan. I was more emotionally attached to that coin than I would have been if I had purchased any of the innumerable superb quality Barber dimes that I have examined over the years. I have probably viewed the vast majority of the MS67 and higher grade Barber dimes in existence.

My grandmother gave me a 1915, too. I purchased a 1915-S later. I spent many weekends at coin shows before I was fifteen years old.

On May 15, 2018, Heritage sold an AU58 1915 for $79. The Denver mint did not produce dimes in 1915. Acquiring a 1915-S with a CAC sticker may be very difficult in the present as zero 1915-S dimes have been CAC approved in grades below AU55. It is possible that one of the two that are CAC approved as grading AU55 may be sold for less than $150, though a medium-retail price in 2021 would be above $150.

During 1916, both Barber dimes and Mercury dimes were struck. A substantial number of 1916 Barber dimes have been CAC approved, including at least fifteen that would probably retail for less than $150 each. On May 24, 2020, GreatCollections sold an MS62 1916 Barber dime for $130.50. As of July 14, 2021, zero sub-58 1916-S dimes have been CAC approved.

The coins cited in this discussion, considered as a group, demonstrate that it is a realistic possibility that a large part of a CAC-only set of Barber dimes could have been assembled over the last ten years without spending more than $150 on any one coin. A collector thinking about a relatively low cost, CAC-only set of Barber dimes, however, should refer to the CAC population report and price guides, while forming a plan. It is important for each respective collector to match a budget with a plan that is practical and will be enjoyable. Collecting coins should be fun.

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Copyright ©2021 Greg Reynolds

Insightful10@gmail.com

Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions, Ha.com.



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