[ US `S' Dime ] 1894`S' Superb Gem Brilliant Proof. Both sides are pleasingly toned in light silver gray shades that are graced with pale gold highlights around the rims. Under strong magnification it becomes apparent that the coin was sharply struck twice in order to bring up all the details in the dies. Great care was taken in the making of this specimen. Because the dies were bright and brand new when they were used to strike this piece, the obverse and reverse fields are both brightly reflective and show some dazzling flash.Of the highest rarity. Only 24 1894`S' Dimes were struck, all from a single obverse and a single reverse die. Today, numismatists trace only 9 different specimens, making the 1894`S' Dime one of the great rarities of modern numismatics. Among modern coins only the 1913 Liberty Nickel exceeds the 1894`S' Dime in terms of rarity, desirability, and numismatic importance. Even more significantly, the presently offered specimen is one of the finest known, superior to sixor seven of the nine known specimens.The 1894`S' Dime is the most famous of all Barber Dimes and is proudly included among the handful of great 19th Century numismatic rarities. It was so described by Walter Breen and it justly deserves its stellar reputation. The minuscule mintage was duly reported to the Philadelphia Mint and at least one of the specimens was sent to Philadelphia for the annual Assay Commission meeting, which was held on February 13, 1895. Since no coinage of Dimes appears to have been planned for the San FranciscoMint in 1894, numismatists are left with the mystery of why so few were originally struck.The fact that one specimen was sent to the Assay Commission shows that the 1894`S' Dime was coined under regular circumstances and was not the product of a so-called "midnight minter." Beyond this fact, however, everything else written about the origin of the coin is speculation and not fact. One theory of the origin of the 1894`S' Dime holds that they were struck to test a pair of Barber Dime dies received by the San Francisco Mint. This idea is illogical, however, since the San Francisco Mint had struck Barber Dimes in 1892 and 1893 and surely had no reason to test the next year's dies when italready knew how Barber Dime dies would work in the presses. Another theory holds that the 24 1894`S' Dimes were struck because the San Francisco Mint's account books were $2.40 short at the end of the fiscal year. In this scenario the 24 Dimes were made as an accounting expedience to make up a ledger deficit. The problem with this scenariois that all the Mint needed to do to make up an accounting shortfall was to make a paper transfer of $2.40 from the Bullion Fund to the General Ledger. There was no real need to strike coins to make such anadjustment.The most popular story about the origin of the 1894`S' Dimeis the one told by Walter Breen in his Encyclopedia. There, we can read the following: "[The 1894`S' Dimes] were special strikings made by Mint Superintendent J. Daggett for a group of banker friends. Each of eight persons received three; Daggett gave three to his daughter Hallie, telling her to put them away until she was as old as he was, at which time she would be able to sell them for a good price. On the way home, the child supposedly spent one for a dish of ice cream, but kept the other two until 1954, when she sold them to the coin dealer Earl Parker." Since we know that Parker had three specimens, and not just too, there must be something wrong with this story. In fact, the story seems to owe more to Breen's imagination than to numismatic history. Until evidence in its favor is presented, this version is best filed away under "Fiction" rather then "Fact." In the final analysis, the mystery surrounding the origin of the 1894`S' Dime will not be resolved until further information about its striking is discovered. The 1894`S' Dime remains one of the great modern rarities,a coin prized by every lucky owner in the past and certain to be a centerpiece of the new owner's collection in the future.The present owner of the 1894`S' Dime kept a remarkable diary during the period near the end of May, 1996, in which he recorded some of his thoughts, hopes, and aspirations for his collection at the time that the magnificent Eliasberg collection of United States coins was sold at public auction. Commissioned by the owner, Harvey Stack was in attendance as the 1894`S' Dime was offered for sale, and immediately upon acquiring it for his client shared the good news with his client.What follows are excerpts from this diary, which fully convey the new owner's excitement, happiness, and appreciation at obtaining a prized possession for his collection."During my boyhood years of the late '50s and early '60s, I developed a strong interest in coin collecting.My five year younger brother and I spent many hours going through rolls of coins looking for prized additions to our very modest collections. Each Saturday my Dad took us to the Bank to trade in our well searched bag for a new fresh bag of pennies. Methodically, we would examine each coin looking for Indian heads, steelies, S's of anyyear, and any other rare coins we saved.The hope that the next coin would be a 1909`S' VDB, a '14`D', or '22 Plain was always there, so the enthusiastic search continued. I dreamed of finding and owning thekey dates that remained unfilled in my numerous Whitman coin books of Indians and Lincolns, `V' Nickels and Buffalo's, Barbers and Mercury's Standing Liberty's and Washington's, and Liberty Walking and Franklin's. And then, in my very wildest dreams, I dreamed of the 1804Dollar, the 1913 Liberty Head Nickel, and the 1894`S' Dime...the unobtainable, the unreachable, the unbelievable, and the unforgettable[After describing his disappointment over failing to acquire the Eliasberg 1913 Liberty Head Nickel, the diary continues]:Wednesday Afternoon May 22, 1996. But tonight is another night and the equally elusive 1894`S' Barber Dime has the spotlight and center stage. This Eliasberg specimen has it all: gem proof beauty, famous pedigree, great rarity, and most important to me...it is one of my three wildestdream coins. I am determined to not let this opportunity slip through my fingers. Tonight, Harvey will have my commitment to whatever it takes to come home with the trophy. I can't wait to hear his winning bid.Late Wednesday Evening May 22, 1996. We did it! Starting at a strong six figure opening bid, followed by a long series of $10,000 increment bids, Harvey held what seemed to be a winning bid when a supportive crowd urged Jay Parrino to leapfrog us twice. Harvey then made his eighth bid and I held my breath as the auctioneer asked for but didn't receive another bid. Going once...going twice...and the 1894`S' Eliasberg Barber dime is mine!"