At the top of someone's Christmas list was a $1 million Carson City-minted dime. That box can be checked.
A Reno coin dealer sold the only known 1873 Carson City minted Seated Liberty, No Arrows dime for an undisclosed amount to a U.S. collector who wishes to remain anonymous.
Numismatics call this dime "Unique" because no other coin of its type has ever been found in the world, said Rusty Goe, who owns Southgate Coins and Collectibles in Reno with his wife, Marie. He bought the coin at a Bowers and Merena auction in Baltimore in July for $891,250. He closed his sale of the coin early this month.
Goe said when he bought the "million-dollar dime" he knew that other collectors would be interested in buying the most valuable coin ever struck at the Carson City Mint. Goe said he was pleased to get it for the six-figure sum, and would've spent more to acquire it.
"This is definitely the most expensive coin we have ever purchased," he said Wednesday.
Goe said his buyer has "probably the finest set of Carson City coins ever assembled. This was the one he didn't have and it finished off his collection. He is very thrilled."
Even though Goe only had the coin for about six months, holding it was like a dream. He's been in the coin business for 23 years.
"It was like walking on clouds for us, being coin dealers, it is the crowning achievement of our career to own that dime," he said. "It doesn't get any rarer than that coin from the Carson City Mint."
It was such an exciting six months for Southgate Coins that he made a blow-up Styrofoam 12-inch high replica of the dime to display. The real coin was kept in a secure place away from the shop.
"It looked like a regular dime, until you appreciated the history behind it," Goe said. "Someone looking at it wouldn't think that it's a million-dollar dime."
And most didn't, or, they didn't consider that it could be someday. How does it feel to part ways with Lady Liberty?
"You have to keep inventory turning," he said. "You say good-bye to them or they become your friends."
And then you make a blow-up replica.
This summer the famed coin was put on display with the Nevada State Museum's coin collection during the annual coin show. This occasion marked the first time in history that all the coins minted in Carson City were in the same room together.
Bob Nylen, curator of history at the museum, said he was surprised that Goe sold it so quickly. Nylen said it was exciting to have the dime at the coin show.
He said he hopes whomever acquires it will donate it to the museum so that it can have a complete collection, but he admits that that probably won't happen anytime soon.
Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at email@example.com or 881-1212.
Unique 1873 Carson City dime time line
1873 - The Carson City Mint made 12,400 Seated Liberty, No Arrows dimes, they were not released. A coinage act is then passed by the government, which calls for increasing the weight of all silver coins. The U.S. Treasury marks the increased-weight coins with arrowheads to the right and left of the date. All non-arrow dimes are ordered to be melted down. Collectors theorize that a dime may have been kept by the Philadelphia Mint, or bought by an employee.
1878 - Dime listed as an "1873 CC (Old Style)" is sold at auction for 17 cents.
1915 - The dime recently sold by Rusty Goe is displayed at a convention in New York City and then sold at auction for $170.
1950 - Sold at auction for $3,650, then again for $4,000.
1996 - Sold at auction for $550,000.
1999 - Sold at auction for $632,500.
2004 - Goe buys it at auction for $891,250. Privately sells it for an undisclosed sum.
Source: Rusty Goe