Finest super-rare Barber dime commands almost $2 million

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The new year is just getting under way, and already the numismatic world has logged its first seven-figure rare coin sale. Whats more, the ultra-rare silver Barber dime zoomed past the $1 million mark only to fall just short of $2 million.

Only 24 were minted: An anonymous buyer paid $1.997 million for the 1894-S Barber dime, certified at PR66 by PCGS and also sporting a green CAC sticker.

The San Francisco Mint struck just 24 of the dimes, and only eight to nine are thought to exist, though more could be lurking around undetected. The dime sold Thursday in Tampa, Fla., is widely hailed as the finest survivor.

Panic scuttled production: Its ironic that the 1894-S is so rare because in 1893 the San Francisco Mint produced almost 2.5 million of the Barber dimes. However, the so-called Panic of 1893 resulted in the mint scrapping similar large-scale production plans in 1894.

As its selling price attest, the coin ranks up there with the most storied specimens in numismatic history, including the 1804 Flowing Hair silver dollar and the 1913 nickel.

Coin has serious pedigree: The storied Barber dimes previous owners include renowned numismatist and Blanchard and Company consultant John Albanese, who paid $1.9 million in 2007.

Some stories suggest that the 24 Barber dimes were minted simply to balance the mints accounts before the end of its fiscal year on June 30, 1894.

Once again, the significant sale price for this coin, approximating levels seen for some pieces of fine art and other luxury collectibles, suggests that the market for ultra-fine numismatic rarities remains strong. And with gold and silver prices among the few bright spots in 2016s early landscape, hopes are that the more generic areas of collectible coins, whose prices trade more closely in sync with bullion, also will see gains this year.