Ron Haller-Williams submitted these observations on the original article (later withdrawn) which reported the discovery of an 1894-S dime unknown to the numismatic community. Thanks!
As for the recent 1894-S dime report, you added "If you didn't read it quick, you missed it." But thanks to the "Wayback Machine" on the Internet Archive, the original
article is still available.
Internet Archive is the Newman Numismatic Portal's partner, scanning and hosting digitized content and well as archiving massive stores of digital-native content from the
internet. I'd saved an excerpt and image from the article in The E-Sylum, but the Wayback Machine archived the complete original web page. Kudos to IA for working fast to document what was
originally published. It's all in a day's work for them. -Editor
As you quoted, the Rapid City Journal's update (September 21, 2017) claims "However, the coin in the photo that accompanied the article was not purported to be the actual
dime that was sold."
That is simply not true – the picture's caption definitively stated "A Black Hills man recently sold this extremely rare 1894-S Barber dime for $2.4 million." I repeat, "...
sold this ... dime ..."
A few things which I found to be particularly "off the wall" are:
* The banker "agreed to open his financial institution's doors at 8 a.m., well before tellers and customers arrived".
* And at the behest of a person whom some might call "trailer trash"?
* But, after an appraisal of "nearly an hour", the tellers and customers would have been there to see the three men enter with the suitcases!
* The payment was in cash ($100 bills) - aren't there rules about reporting large transactions, especially cash, to inhibit money laundering?
* 8000 banknotes per suitcase, with contents of about 8kg to 9kg per suitcase – should have fitted into briefcases, or all into one suitcase!
* According to TV Tropes, "Assuming all US$100 bills, an average sized briefcase (25" x 18" x 4") could theoretically fit about US$2,400,000." But we'd better
allow a little bit for the extra space occupied by used notes.
To read the complete article, see: Briefcase Full of Money
* No trace of toning, which would be surprising for a silver coin of that age – contrast the pictures of "known" specimens.
* The mintage was 24, not "some 2.5 million" - which admittedly would have been possible from the 40(?) dies delivered.
* The seller's father was given it, already "plastic-wrapped", "SEVERAL decades" before giving it to his son in 1964 – but he cannot have acquired it before 1945, and
likely after 1950 ("the mid-20th century"), so held it for less than two decades.
* The reporter (Tom Griffith) must have expected the story to be picked up elsewhere, 'cos most readers of the Rapid City Journal shouldn't need to be reminded that the Black Hills
(a national park some 30 miles away) is in South Dakota.
* “You cannot imagine how many banks I've visited in the last couple of weeks making deposits.” If more than 10, WHY?
* The ice-cream story is lifted from John Daggett's daughter Hallie. John died in 1919, so could not have been alive after World War II – and was not a banker, and even his alleged banker
friends would have been well into their 80s (or even older) by the end of WWII.
* "a reputable private website favored by serious numismatists," And not known to ANY of our subscribers? or ANY contributors to the other sites?
Additionally, I really don't think Heritage would have told CNN of a production run of 2.5 million - and because of the financial crisis of the PREVIOUS year? Indeed, they didn't - CNN
simply refers to (and misquotes!) a Heritage press release. See http://money.cnn.com/2016/01/08/luxury/dime-auction-2-million/index.html
"The San Francisco mint made about 2.5 million of these dimes, but fewer than 10 are still known to exist, according to Heritage. That's because a financial crisis in 1893 killed demand
for new coinage, and almost all the dimes were melted down. Only 19 went into circulation."
They misquote a Heritage lot description which mentions the "nearly 2.5 million", but "in 1893"! So, after conflating the 1893-S production with that of the following year, CNN
needed to invent the “melting” story – but the price of 1893-S dimes still reflects the mintage of almost 2.5 million.
To read the complete lot dscription, see: https://coins.ha.com/itm/proof-barber-dimes/
And several other sites have carried (or reworked) that CNN misquote.
Thanks, Ron. The article was fairly well written as a fiction story, but not well researched for facts. It's still baffling how this got published in the first place, with
the central figure remaining completely anonymous. You can read the complete article at the link below. -Editor
Joel Orosz adds:
I consider myself to be an expert on two subjects--American numismatics and philanthropy. Invariably, whenever I have read a story written on these subjects by journalists outside the trade press
for each subject, that story has been riddled with errors.
I suppose that whenever a generalist (as most journalists are), tries to write a story about a specialized subject, errors will inevitably be made. It makes me wonder about a lot of other stories
I read in the press--not because of deliberate attempts to write "fake news" but simply because mistakes are made due to ignorance and lax fact-checking.
To read the complete article on the Wayback Machine, click this link, then scroll down:
man's life changed by rare coin sold for millions (https://web.archive.org/web/20170917154849/http://rapidcityjournal.com/news/
The original article was here:
Sorry, the page you're looking for cannot be
To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
ARTICLE REPORTS 1894-S DIME DISCOVERY (http://www.coinbooks.org/v20/esylum_v20n38a15.html)
ARTICLE ON 1894-S DIME DISCOVERY WITHDRAWN (http://www.coinbooks.org/v20/esylum_v20n39a09.html)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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