Half-Dimes and Dimes : Barber Dime

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Obverse of 1900 Barber Dime Reverse of 1900 Barber Dime

Q. David Bowers (edited and updated by Mike Sherman): In 1892, the dime, quarter and half dollar denominations were redesigned. A Liberty Head motif common to all three denominations made its appearance the same year. Known as the Barber dime (named after the designer Charles E. Barber) the ten-cent denomination featured on the obverse Miss Liberty facing right, her hair in a Phrygian cap and wearing a laurel wreath, with the word LIBERTY in tiny letters in a band above her forehead. The inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA surrounds, and the date is below.  The reverse is of the same design used earlier and features a large wreath enclosing ONE DIME. There was no room for the motto IN GOD WE TRUST on the coin, so it was omitted.  It is not generally realized that the obverse design of the dime differs from that of the quarter and half dollar, in that the latter denominations have stars around the obverse periphery.

While there are a number of scarcities and rarities in the 1892-1916 series, the exceedingly rare 1894-S dime being famous among them, there are enough common dates that the type set collector will encounter no difficulty acquiring an example in any desired grade from Good to AU.  After the ultra-rare 1894-S, the scarce 1895-O will be the date collector’s biggest challenge.  Uncirculated pieces are elusive, although hardly rare, while superb Uncirculated coins are more difficult to find.  Proofs were minted each year from 1892 to 1915 for collectors, and these can be obtained with some searching.

-- Reprinted with permission from "United States Coins by Design Types - An Action Guide for the Collector and Investor" by Q. David Bowers