An example of the 1894-S Barber dime, considered one of the most famous of all rare United States coins, found its way into the hands of Utah business mogul D.L. Hansen. The numismatist, closing in on his goal of completing what he calls — and will likely go down in history as — The Greatest U.S. Coin Collection Of All Time, acquired the 1894-S dime with the help of David Lawrence Rare Coins President John Brush.
Hansen’s 1894-S Barber dime is graded by Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) as Proof-63 and sold on August 16, 2019, by Stack’s Bowers Rarities Night Auction for $1,320,000 at the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in Rosemont, IL. The 1894-S Barber dime saw a tiny mintage of only 24 pieces, and just nine are known to exist. However, why so few were struck and many other details about the coin’s origin remain a numismatic mystery. Some believe they were minted to balance the mint’s ledger books, while others say they were struck as gifts to friends and loved ones of then-San Francisco Mint Superintendent John Daggett, who reportedly even gave a few to his daughter, Hallie. The story goes she promptly spent one 1894-S Barber dime on a bowl of ice cream.
The coin was acquired as part of the “Eliasberg Quest” to build an even bigger and more thorough collection than did Louis Eliasberg, who in the mid 20th century had built the most complete U.S. coin collection to that point. The seven-figure purchase of this rare dime helps notch Hansen one giant step closer to eclipsing the great Eliasberg cabinet. In fact, this example of the 1894-S Barber dime that Hansen and Brush purchased once belonged to Eliasberg himself and also has pedigrees to great collector John Clapp and former Lakers NBA team owner Dr. Jerry Buss.