Most of us don’t think much about coins. Especially as banking continues to move more and more away from paper and metal, it seems like we hardly ever need to deal with actually change anymore.
However, sometimes the average coins rattling around inside of our wallets are worth more than the price of a cup of coffee or a quick snack. In fact, they could just be more valuable than you could possibly imagine!
In 1894, a few dozen dimes, called Barber dimes, were minted. When you hear how much they’re worth, you’re going to go scrambling through your couch cushions….
Chances are that, whenever you pay for groceries and you receive a handful of change, you don’t spend much time inspecting it. You’re in too much of a rush! Besides, coins are less and less useful in modern times, what with the advent of credit and debit cards.
But did you know that among that handful of pennies, nickels, and quarters you might be holding something that’s incredibly rare? Some dimes in circulation are actually worth $1.9 million dollars apiece! You could have one in your possession right now and not even know it!
These extra special (and nearly priceless) rare dimes were first minted in 1894. In coin collecting circles, they’re known by their original name: the 1894-S Barber dime. Isn’t it crazy to think that this seemingly ordinary bit of change could be so valuable? Here’s why…
The story behind the minting of the Barber dime is like something out of a fairy tale. In 1894, John Daggett, the former superintendent of the San Francisco Mint, had 24 special dimes created. John gave three each to seven of his closest friends and the remaining three to his youngest daughter.
John told his young daughter not to spend any of the dimes until she was older, knowing that they would become quite valuable. However, she was a child, and almost as soon as she was given the dimes, she spent one on ice cream. Kids, right?
Currently, there are said to be nine Barber dimes still in existence. Of those nine, experts say there are still two left in circulation. In comparison, a regular dime minted in 1894 may still be worth more than a paltry 10 cents, but they’re valued much lower than the Barber dime…
Specifically, a standard 1894 dime is worth between $29 and $600. This is why it always pays to be on the lookout for strange or unusual coins in the next handful of change. It might seem like it’s a waste of time, but the truth is you never know what secrets might be hiding in there!
Molly McCabe / Flickr
Mollie McCabe / Flickr
Mollie McCabe / Flickr
While the chances of finding something as rare as a true Barber dime are pretty low, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible! Two of these rare coins are still in active circulation, and you never know—one might just wind up in your piggy bank!
Below you will fine some examples of how to judge the quality of the average Barber dime. Typically, coin collectors look for specific qualities in each, which is why the value varies. As you can see, the way it has aged is a huge part of its value on the coin market.
So, if you think you have a million-dollar Barber dime, but you aren’t sure, seek out professional guidance. There are plenty of quality coin appraisers who can tell you if your dime is the real deal. If it is, well, congrats on hitting the jackpot!
Finding a coin as rare as a Barber dime must be a lot like winning the lottery. Your chances might even be a little bit better! So keep those eyes open and those fingers crossed. Good luck!
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