Rusty Goe fulfilled his dream of acquiring the one-of-a-kind 1873-CC Without Arrows dime...

Reno Man Pays Record Price for Rare 1873 Dime

One-of-a-kind Coin: 10-cent Piece Minted in Nevada's Capital

Tim Anderson


7/16/2004 12:49 A.M.

Liz Margerum

RARE COIN: The front of the 1873 dime acquired by Reno coin shop owner Rusty Goe is shown.

There's not a dime's worth of difference between some 10-cent pieces.

But the one-of-a-kind, 1873 dime acquired last week by Reno coin shop owner and coin collector Rusty Goe isn't one of them.

Goe paid $891,250 for the coin, made 131 years ago at the historic Carson City Mint. He said he got a good deal.

"I'm ecstatic, elated. It's the ultimate experience," Goe said.

Goe, who with his wife, Marie, operates Southgate Coins, said he bought the extremely rare coin last Friday at public auction in Baltimore.

After paying a record price for any dime made in the United States, he said his South Virginia Street shop became a celebration site for customers and friends.

"The atmosphere in our store was festive. It was like having the winning team in the World Series or the winning horse in the Kentucky Derby," Goe said.

Goe, who recently completed a book on the history of the Carson City Mint, said the acquisition is particularly satisfying because it was made in the capital city.

The coin, minted nine years after statehood, is called the "1873-CC Without Arrows Dime."

The year the coin was minted, 12,400 silver dimes were produced in Carson City. But Goe said the federal Coinage Act called for an increase in the weight of silver coins, and the originally minted ones were ordered destroyed.

Replacement coins were minted with arrows to distinguish them.

Goe said coin experts have speculated that when a few of the Without Arrows coins were sent to the Philadelphia Mint for testing, an employee exchanged one of his own dimes for the Carson City piece.

No other coins without arrows from 1873 in Carson City have surfaced over the years, Goe said.

Goe said two Philadelphia coin dealers were the first owners of record of the piece he acquired. He said they made their ownership known about 1910. In 1915, Goe said, the coin was sold at auction for $170.

The coin has had a series of different owners through the years, Goe said. From 1950 to 1996, Goe said, the most prominent coin collector of the 20th century — Louis E. Eliasberg Sr. of Baltimore — owned the coin. He died in 1976, and the family sold the coin in 1996 for $550,000.

In 1999, the coin sold at auction for $632,000.

"The sky seems to be the limit for rare coins. The way they’ve escalated in value has been phenomenal," Goe said.

Bidding at last Friday's auction opened at $550,000, and Goe said he went to $775,000 before he was able to secure the coin. The sales price includes a 15 percent auction company fee — bringing the total to $891,250.

Goe said he got a bargain based on the recent sales of other rare coins. For example, he said, the rarest nickel is the 1913 Liberty Head, only five are known to exist. One of those coins recently sold for $3 million, Goe said.

Up to now, the most a U.S.-made dime has fetched is $825,000 for an 1894 coin minted in San Francisco.

Considering how prices for rare coins have escalated, Goe said that the Carson City dime represents a good investment.

"Eventually, it's likely to become part of one of our client's collections. But for now we're basking in the wonderment of it all," Goe said.

He said he hopes to be able to bring the coin back to the Carson City Mint — now home to the Nevada State Museum — for an exhibit. The 10th annual museum coin show Aug. 28-29 is a possibility, he said.

"We want to do this, but we have to overcome the hurdles of insurance and security. It would be so great to be able to have the coin back at its home in Carson City, even briefly, after 131 years," Goe said.

Copyright © 2004 The Reno Gazette-Journal