My wife sometimes wonders why I spend money to buy smaller amounts of money. She sees it as a paradox of sorts, where in I am just reducing my the amount of money I have through an exchange. She thinks I am wasting my time, sometimes. But she allows me the eccentricity of my hobby. That is until I make a sale or auction off a piece, then it is a different story. It turns out that some of that money can get to be where it is worth a pretty penny which makes everyone happy. Then there is the creme de la creme. The coins that everyone wants and no one can get. The coins that every collector dreams about one day getting to own. The 1913 Liberty Head nickel, of which there are 5, the 1804 dollar, 18, the 1933 double eagle, 13 but 12 belong to the government and the 1894 S dime, maybe 11 known. Then there is this little dime from Carson City.
The Carson City mint was established because of the discovery of massive amounts of silver with the Comstock Lode in Nevada in 1859. Fast forward several years to the beginning of the decline of the silver coming out of the lode and we are left with a glut of specie entering the money stream which devalued the silver content of the coin. They were worth less than what they were printed. so the congress decided to make the coins heavier, but to differentiate the two types of coin the demanded a device of arrows be added around the date so people could tell the difference between the two. Records show that the Carson City Mint produced 12,400 dimes with no arrows in 1873. However, when the weight standard for the coins was changed, these pieces were presumably all melted to be recoined into dimes with a slightly heavier weight, and arrows placed to either side of the date to denote the change. Apparently a few pieces had been saved for assay purposes, which is the process of checking to make sure the coins meet the strict tolerances of the mint. Usually the coins are destroyed during the assay process. This little dime didn’t get the melt down treatment and thus is the only known survivor without arrows at the date which signified a change in the amount of silver in the coin.
The 1873-CC “No Arrows” Liberty Seated Dime realized $550,000 at auction in 1996. Subsequently, the coin realized $632,500 at auction in 1999. The coin was last sold in 2004 as part of the Jim Gray collection, when it realized a prize of $891,250. Compared to the prices recently realized for similar rarities, there were several who thought this coin could be a true bargain, if you can call spending nearly one million dollars a bargain. But it turns out they were right. Thursday night at the American Numismatic Convention in Philadelphia this coin brought 1.6 million dollars at auction, which came to a grand total of 1.84 million after buyers fees were added. There were up to five people bidding on this dime. People want it that bad. But don’t be shocked, it might go up for auction here in another decade or so, where I expect it will probably break the two million dollar mark. That is a lot of money for a little bit of silver.