Carson mint dime bought for $881,250 | NevadaAppeal.com

Carson mint dime bought for $881,250

A Reno man paid $861,250 for a dime and said he got a bargain.

The dime, minted 131 years ago at the Carson City Mint, is the only one known to exist. Its official name is the “1873-CC Without Arrows Dime,” and it’s back in Nevada.

It could possibly be back at the mint for the annual coin show in August if security and insurance issues can be overcome, said collector and coin owner Rusty Goe.

“It’s been gone 131 years,” Goe said. “When we take it back to the mint, it will be the first time it has returned home in 131 years.

“I can’t think of any experience as a coin dealer better than this – dreaming of owning the rarest coin, then having your dream fulfilled.”

Nevada State Museum Curator of History Bob Nylen also said he is thrilled to see the coin return to Nevada.

“It’s hard to have this sink in, that in my lifetime it is back in the state. It’s amazing. I’m at a loss for words.”

Goe, who owns Southgate Coins in Reno with his wife, Marie, purchased the dime at a public auction in Baltimore on Friday.

“It’s the record price for any dime made in the U.S.,” he said. “It’s the most expensive dime ever sold in the U.S.” The next closest price paid for a dime, minted in San Francisco – an 1894-S dime – was $825,000. There are at least nine known to exist.

“This is the only example known for this date,” Goe said. “So in relative terms there is no question it is a bargain.”

The rarest nickel, a 1913 Liberty Head, of which there are five known specimens, recently sold for $3 million.

“Put that in perspective with our dime, and we say ‘Yes, it is a bargain,'” he said.

Goe said bids opened for the dime at $550,000 and went up by $25,000 increments, with about a half-dozen people bidding. It stalled for a bit at his bid for $725,000. “So I’m screaming ‘Close it!’ Then somebody said $750,000, and we jump in at $775,000.

“The auctioneer is saying ‘Going once, going twice, three times. Do we hear $800,000? Sold for $775,000.'”

The sale price includes a 15 percent fee by the auction company, bringing the total to $891,250.

At one point, a person bidding by telephone lost his or her cell-phone connection, and there was a short delay for reconnection.

“It delayed things for a couple of minutes,” Goe said. “But they’re just running you through this torture. You’re just waiting and waiting.

“I’m walking on clouds. It’s the ultimate experience. There are lots of clichés that could define how we feel this week.

“If the Carson City Mint has any place in the history of Nevada, in the U.S., then this dime is the defining coin from the Carson City Mint. It doesn’t get any better than this dime.”

Fast facts

• In 1873, the Carson City Mint stamped 12,400 silver dimes, but the Coinage Act called for an increase in the weight of silver coins, and they were destroyed.

Experts speculate an employee at the Philadelphia Mint exchanged one of his own dimes for a sample of the 1873-CC dime sent from Carson City and later passed it on.

• The dime first surfaced in 1909 or 1910, when the first owners of record were two Philadelphia coin dealers. Then in 1915, a client of the dealers sold it at public auction for $170.

• The last time this dime sold was 1999, when it set a record price of $632,250.

Coin collection

Rare dime: 1873-CC Without Arrows Dime; sold July 9, 2004, to Rusty Goe of Reno for $891,250; only known dime of its kind.

Rarest nickel: 1913 Liberty Head; five known specimens; most recently sold for $3 million.

Rare dollar: 1804 silver dollar; sold for $4.1 million five years ago; eight known examples.

Most expensive: 1933 $20 gold piece; sold for $7.56 million in 2002. 445,500 minted, but none circulated. They were ordered to be melted through a presidential act in 1933. Before they were destroyed, a small number were taken from the mint by employees. At one time, it was estimated there were 12 or 14 in existence. All were once owned by collectors, but were confiscated by the government, saying they were illegal to own since they were never released into circulation. Through a long series of events, one coin wound up in London. In the mid 1990s, a coin dealer there attempted to sell it to a U.S. dealer for $1.5 million. A government agent involved in the transaction arrested both for dealing with illegal merchandise. The government eventually sold the coin at a public auction and split the proceeds with the U.S. buyer.

Kelli Du Fresne is features editor for the Nevada Appeal. Contact her at kdufresne@nevadaappeal.com or at 881-1261.