After a fifty-four year circulation period, it was time for Gobrecht’s Seated Liberty design to retire from the face of the ten-cent. Popular public opinion had shifted near the end of the design’s circulation and many claimed that the United States produced “second-rate” coin designs. In an effort to satisfy public demand the mint began accepting new dime design proposals as early as 1880 but nothing came out of this besides a nickel redesigned by Charles Barber. After the issue was forfeited for several years, it was brought to light once again in 1891 through discussions of public art contests from the new dime, quarter, and half dollar design arose. The competition proposal was met with detest from both the chief engraver, Charles Barber, and the infamous sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, both of whom claimed there were no competent assistants in the country that could help with the preparation of original designs. Kimball, faced with narcissistic engravers, turned to a panel of ten judges chosen by an outside source to run and chose the winner of the competition. This idea was once again met with egotism as the panel decided to disregard the contest rules and complain about their compensation. As a last ditch effort, Kimball then personally created a small four-person panel to judge over three-hundred submitted designs; the panel, which included Barber, rejected all but two drawings which received an “honorable mention” only. Kimball discontinued the effort at this point but it was once again picked up by Edward O. Leech when he received the Director of Mint appointment in 1889. Leech made it a point to steer clear of the same “wretched failure” Kimball achieved and went directly to Charles Barber for the new designs instead. Barber, who wanted to design the new coin from the start, jumped on the opportunity and came up with the Liberty head Barber design seen on this coin. His design used a modified version of the infamous and well-liked Morgan head design; the modification included a cap- inscribed with LIBERTY, shortened hair, and his last initial on the bottom of her neck. The redesigned reverse used a wreath similar to that of the 1860-91 seated liberty design and omits the IN GOD WE TRUST motif due to space issues. While Barber’s design is often described as “lacking in artistic merit” he accomplished a necessary feat and created a design that was able to be pressed in the modern coin press in one fell-swoop.
So many new and exciting inventions surfaced in the late 1800s which provided more recreational activities which in turn meant more money was spent on luxury over necessity. Examples of this phenomenon include the first movie theater established in Time Square and new movie premieres. The Brothers Lumiére introduced their first production to an audience of invite-only guests and produced several more after their first success. This was all made possible by the invention and patent of the moving picture projector on February 13th of that same year. Professional sports also became a prominent staple of the American pastime in 1895. While baseball had been a popular professional spectator sport since 1869, professional football premiered in Latrobe, Pennsylvania on September 3rd. Even auto-races premiered at the end of 1895 a short couple of weeks after the two-stroke automobile engine was patented on November 2nd. This shift enabled money to be spent outward on more lavish items and moved the economy to luxury, which in turn created a demand for more coins.