The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 3, January 15, 2006, Article 9


We can add to our list of one-coin books.  Last week Coin
World ran a front-page article on an upcoming book by Kevin
Flynn: "The 1894-S Dime, A Mystery Unraveled".  Based on
research in the National Archives, the book addresses the
myths and mysteries surrounding this rare product of the
San Francisco Mint.  According to the article, the
book will be available beginning January 22.  Five hundred
softcover and a limited number of hardcover editions are
being printed.

"The softcover edition is priced at $32.95 and hardcover
is priced at $90 plus $5 postage for all orders.  Copies
may be reserved by sending a check or money order to Kevin
Flynn, P.O. Box 538, Rancocas, NJ 08073, or e-mail him at"

Elements of the story include published accounts by
Farran Zerbe in The Numismatist in April 1928, and a
February 1951 Numismatic Scrapbook article.  "The Usual
Suspect" in the traditional speculation on the dimes'
creation was San Francisco Mint Superintendent John Daggett,
but Flynn discovered that Daggett "wasn't even on the job
due to an attack of sciatica."

"The National Archives absolutely show that the 24 1894-S
Barber Dimes were struck on June 9, 1894.  National archive
records also show that several collectors wrote to the San
Francisco Mint directly and learned of the 24 1894-S Barber
Dimes in early 1895."

Kevin Flynn adds: "The book is 130 pages, 8-1/2 by 11.
There is much previously unpublished information on the
1894-S in this book, such as when and how many 1894-S dime
dies were sent from Philadelphia to San Francisco, what
drove coin production at the San Francisco Mint, what
collectors were told in 1894 and 1895 about the 1894-S dimes,
why the 1894-S dimes were struck, how many dies were sent
back to Philadelphia, and how many were melted.......

There were five 1894-S dimes submitted for assay; two were
sent on June 9th, 1894, the day they were struck.  The assay
is an important part of the story.  Each of the silver coins
submitted for assay for 1894 was recorded to get a better
picture.  These five coins were sent to the Philadelphia and
Washington D.C. for assay, San Francisco had their own assay
department which assayed thousands of coins per year.  The
assay of these coins show that the Mint was not trying to
hide them, that the Philadelphia and Director of the Mint
in Washington D.C. knew they were struck.  Of course this
is not true for many of the other great rarities such as
the 1913 Liberty nickel or the 1884 and 1885 Trade Dollars.

For many of the more important documents, the archive letters
are scanned in so that you can see the original.

These are just some of the issues researched, there were
many pieces to the puzzle to solve the mystery, such as
discovering who was the source of Farran Zerbe's 1928
article on the 1894-S dimes, which he learned from the
Mint in 1905.  Learn why this had to be Charles Gorham,
the coiner at the San Francisco Mint in 1894."

[Three cheers for Coin World Editor Beth Deisher's editorial
in the January 16th issue.  Referring specifically about the
writings of Flynn and Roger Burdette, she writes: "Thanks to
a small cadre of researchers and writers, today's collectors
and those in the future will have the opportunity to know much
more about U.S. coins than the collectors of yesteryear.
That's because these researchers are not content to just repeat
the coin lore that has been handed down for generations.  They
are taking the time and making the effort to locate original
sources and documents that detail the whos, whys, whens, wheres
and hows involving the coins we collect.  Often their findings
confirm and expand previously published information.  But
sometimes their research relegates previously held theories
and accounts to myth and legend status."  Amen.  -Editor]

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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