The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 20, Number 39, September 24, 2017, Article 9


Last week I published an excerpt from the Rapid City Journal about the purported discovery of an 1894-S dime, one of the greatest rarities in American numismatics. -Editor

Rapid City Purported 1894-S Dime John Feigenbaum of Coin Dealer Newsletter writes:

Before I saw your mention of the article on the '94-S dime I emailed the writer and told him his reporting was garbage and no way the story was true.

Ginger Rapsus writes:

Maybe I'm a cynical old lady, but that story of the long-lost 1894-S dime did not sound like a true story. As you pointed out, no coin experts were quoted. What kind of holder was that coin in, if it is a real coin? It was not professionally graded & slabbed.

Joel Orosz of Kalamazoo, MI writes:

The picture showed a Royal Oak Mint replica in a faux slab, with nary a reputable numismatic publication nor expert quoted. What could be wrong with any aspect of that?

I was kind with my earlier remarks, but the whole story reeked of B.S. I had to check the calendar to make sure it wasn't April 1st. By the time I rechecked Monday evening the article had been removed from the site. On Thursday evening the paper published this follow-up. -Editor

Local and national coin experts have raised questions about the rare coin featured in a story published in the Sept. 17 Journal about a local man who claimed to have sold a dime for $2.4 million.

The story detailed the 64-year-old Black Hills man's assertions that his father had given him the 1894-S Barber dime, among the rarest U.S. coins in existence, when he was a young man. He claimed to have re-discovered the dime in August, at which time he said he posted it for sale on a website favored by numismatists, and subsequently sold it to a Florida buyer.

The story quickly caught the attention of local and national numismatists, who questioned the local man's account, and stated that they find it unlikely the coin he sold was one of [the] rare dimes, and instead believe the coin may be a replica worth less than $30.

"Coin World (magazine) became aware of the original article after subscribers began emailing links to the article to us," William T. Gibbs, managing editor of the numismatic publication, told the Journal in an email this week. "The article was also highlighted in the Sept. 17 edition of the 'E-Sylum' e-newsletter, published by the Numismatic Bibliomania Society, and it became the subject of a discussion at an online forum sponsored by one of the coin hobby's major grading and authentication services.

“The discovery was met with widespread skepticism, in part because the coin illustrated with the article appears to be a modern reproduction and not an original item," Gibbs continued. "Such replicas can be purchased from the private mints that strike them for less than $30."

However, the coin in the photo that accompanied the article was not purported to be the actual dime that was sold. And yet, because only 24 of the rare dimes were ever struck by the San Francisco Mint, and only nine are known to still exist, Gibbs said if another 1894-S dime were to be discovered, it would be a significant find deserving major coverage in the hobby's news publications.

“However, the numismatic community traditionally remains cautious about such discoveries until recognized experts have examined the coin, compared its diagnostics with other known pieces, and publicly declared it genuine," he wrote. "At the current time, no one in the numismatic community has come forward to announce such a discovery."

Repeated attempts by the Journal to contact the Black Hills man — who told the newspaper he signed a confidentiality agreement with the buyer of the coin — for comment and further substantiation of his claims were unsuccessful.

And, where is this "website favored by numismatists" where the coin was posted for sale? Anybody see that? Beuller? Beuller?

I'd only excerpted parts of the story, which was actually a pretty well-written yarn. If you didn't read it quick, you missed it. I guess we'll never know if it was a prank played on the reporter, somebody's elaborate cover story for a cash windfall, or the product of a bored reporter on deadline trying to pull one over on his boss. -Editor

To read the thread on the PCGS Collectors Forum, see:
1894-S dime in Coin World slab sells for $2.4 million (

To see an ebay listing referenced by one of the participants: barber s 1894 one dime coin (

To read the complete article, see Numismatists question rare dime story (

To read the Coin world article, see: Numismatic community voices skepticism over 1894-S dime article (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

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Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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