The Liberty head or Barber dime was designed by Charles E. Barber and was minted from 1892 until 1916. In 1891, Edward O. Leech, the Mint Director appointed by Congress to approve coin designs, started a competition. There would be a cash prize for the winner as well as the notoriety of having designed a United States coin. However, artists wanted no part of this project, too below their standards I suppose. So Leech had Barber design the new coins and they were quickly approved by President Benjamin Harrison.
The Liberty head or Barber dime, with its distinctively elegant design, quickly gained popularity among collectors and the general public alike. The obverse of the coin featured the profile of Lady Liberty facing to the right, adorned with a wreath of laurel leaves on her head, while the reverse displayed a heraldic eagle with outstretched wings and a shield on its chest. The coin was minted in Philadelphia, New Orleans, and San Francisco, with different mint marks denoted by a small letter on the reverse below the wreath. Despite its initial lack of artistic acclaim, the Barber dime became a cherished symbol of American numismatic history, with many collectors avidly seeking out the different mint marks and studying the intricate details of its design. Over the years, the coin has gained a reputation for its durability and timeless beauty, with well-preserved examples commanding high prices at auctions and in the collector’s market. Today, the Barber dime remains a beloved piece of American coinage, serving as a reminder of the nation’s rich numismatic heritage and the skilled craftsmanship of Charles E. Barber, whose design has stood the test of time.
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