An 1894 San Francisco Mint silver dime that once belonged to a legendary collector known as “The King of Coins” has been acquired by Legend Numismatics of Lincroft, N.J., for $1.8 million. It is a record price for this particular example of the nine known surviving 1894-S dimes.
The branch mint proof, graded PCGS PR-65+ BM CAC, was acquired by Legend on behalf of prominent collector Bruce Morelan from dealers John Albanese and Kevin Lipton. Albanese, co-founder of Certified Acceptance Corporation (CAC), called it his favorite 1894-S dime because “it has the strongest, most collector-friendly eye appeal.”
“Bruce Morelan now owns the trifecta of United States numismatics: an 1804 Draped Bust dollar, a 1913 Liberty Head nickel and an 1894-S Barber dime,” said Laura Sperber, president of Legend Numismatics. “We are looking at the possibilities of exhibiting all three together at a major show.”
Among this 1894-S dime’s prominent previous owners was Baltimore financier and civic leader Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr., who became known as “The King of Coins” for assembling before his death in 1976 an example of every date, metal, denomination and mintmark United States coin known to collectors at the time.
“I’m very excited at the opportunity to own this magnificent coin,” said Morelan. “It joins the 1804 Class I dollar and 1913 Liberty Head nickel in my collection. Very few collectors have ever owned all of the top three most famous American rarities, and I’m proud to join that very exclusive group that includes Eliasberg, Col. E.H.R. Green and Dr. Jerry Buss.”
Mint records indicate that just 24 dimes were struck at the San Francisco Mint in 1894, and today only nine of them are known to still exist.
This was the third 1894-S dime acquired for collectors by Legend since the company’s founding in 1987.
“When I started in the coin business in 1978, I dreamed of handling maybe one 1894-S dime,” said Sperber. “I did not think I would ever handle three of them; the so-called Ice Cream example, the Simpson coin and now Eliasberg! Even though the Simpson example is graded a little higher, PR-66, this latest 1894-S dime has always been the best looking in my opinion. It’s an honor to handle such an important piece of numismatic history.”