A key part in the decision of an accurate value of any coin is an accurate judgement of the coin's condition. Grading Barber dimes have a few major points and a few subtle points to judge when judging condition.
How to grade old coins yourself is demonstrated in the video using Barber dimes ranging in grade from the worn Good grade to a nice Uncirculated example. Any of these with a fully readable Liberty in the headband is sought by collectors.
Many dates - especially those prior to 1900 are scarce in high circulated condition and command a premium value. Continue below with the images and grading descriptions describing the differences to these higher grade coins. A little time and study and your eye begins to detect the small differences to grade these old dimes.
Beginning with the Uncirculated condition introduces the beauty of Barber dime and a complete and full detailed design. All of the intricate details are portrayed on a mint state coin. Notably; mint state dimes are eagerly sought by collectors and carry the highest value premium. Recognizing this grade is important. Points to consider in your grading judgement include the presences of mint luster and detecting faint signs of wear.
Separating a Barber dime into the Extremely Fine grade is the small areas of wear to the highest parts of the design. Although wear is present and the original brightness of luster is missing the coin must be sharp and distinct in appearance.
Objective grading of this Barber dime places it in the Fine category. With a somewhat faded appearance, wear is now clearly noticeable. Many major design elements are just an outline lacking depth. However there are a few key elements needed to place this coins in the Fine grade.
In spite the amount of wear and missing detail, a Barber dime in the Good grade still has character. The bold design of the portrait, large lettering and date remains; all framed by a distinct rim.
Discovering the value differences of Barber dimes from one grade to the next grade requires an in-depth study of the coin's condition. If a conservative approach is used; over-valuing the coin is avoided.
Is there any mint luster still showing on your coin? Mint luster; the "frost" of metal flow lines created during the striking process is the indicator of a high grade coin. Complete coverage of luster over the entire surface grades a Barber dime as mint state.
Your coin may be worn slightly indicating an Extremely Fine grade. However; if any luster is still clinging in and around the lettering it is a strong plus to potential value. Handel these coins with care by the edges, avoid placing fingers directly on the surfaces.
Original surfaces and toning are highly sought by today's collector. If a coin is original and appealing, not artificial or cleaned, value is solid. Collector desire to acquire original surface coins applies to all grades, Mint State to Good. Imaged is a 1913-S Barber dime far from highest value uncirculated grade but still highly collectible, notably because of the wonderful toing.
Grading the Barber dime as Fine, indicating moderate wear, the original natural toing acquired over the decades helps set this coin apart. Especially nice are the deeper shades of toning around the edges blending smoothly into the lighter toned center portrait.
There are collectors building collections in all grades based on originality and matched appearances. Careful handling is necessary with these old coins and cleaning is not an option, it should never be done.
Does a heavily worn Barber dime still have potential value?
Yes, there are many coins in the Barber dime series, despite heavy wear, carry premium values. Date and the mint that struck the coin are now considered. The New Orleans issues are popular with collectors and all dated before 1900 are premium coins. Followed closely in popularity are the San Francisco issues. Mintmarks denoting the mints are found on the reverse under the bow.
Notable dates in the Good grade:
1895 | 1895-O | 1896-S | 1897-S | 1901-S | 1907-S
Overall Barber dimes in good condition and dated before 1900 are wroth above minimum silver value. In many cases these older dates of the series are very valuable.
Video index of how to grade coins, videos, close-up images and descriptions of other coin series are found here. Following the steps to grading the condition of coins, is the key to value.
Once grading is complete finding a value of Barber dimes is closer to accurate. Value charts of all dates and mints are listed.
All old US coin values. Use the image index to identify the series of each coin and follow the links to value charts covering the different dates and mints. Each series covers the grading process in detail. Many series of old coins are surprisingly valuable.