Written by Javier Mercado
The key to valuable Dimes is important to know if you are interested in the value of coins. Despite their small size and value, we cannot deny that 10 cent coins are very valuable in the numismatic market.
Do you know that sometimes the price of dimes can skyrocket? Let’s see a small guide to the most valuable dimes we can find this year.
Dimes worth money – How to identify a dime coin
As you’ll probably know, a dime is a US coin with a face value of 10 cents. It was authorized by the Coinage Act of 1792, although it was not put into circulation until a few years later, in 1796. It is still being minted today, so we are talking about a coin that is more than two centuries old.
The coin has evolved during so many years, and up to six different motifs have been used for silver dimes. The price of the dime coin can vary enormously between the most sought after; and the current ones, which are easily obtained as soon as they come into circulation, and there are no great rarities due to their extensive circulation.
1 – Draped Bust
The first type coined, used from 1796 to 1807, is the so-called ‘draped bust’.
Due to old manufacturing technologies, these dimes are often of poor quality, with many errors and variations. They are usually very rare coins and sought after by collectors. They comprise 89.2% silver and 10.8% copper.
2 – Capped Bust
The second type, minted between 1809 and 1837, is the ‘capped bust’.
With the same composition as the ‘draped bust’, they are still rare and sought-after coins, holding a great numismatic value. Due to their antiquity, few pieces have arrived in a good state of conservation until today.
3 – Seated Liberty
The third type, put into circulation between 1837 and 1891, is the so-called ‘seated liberty’. A keystone of silver dime editions.
This type has a theoretical weight of 2.67g, with 90% silver and the rest copper. It shows us on the obverse side a full-body allegory of Liberty sitting on a rock in neoclassical style.
4 – Barber Dimes
The fourth type, used from 1892 to 1916, is the so-called ‘barber’.
This type, with a theoretical weight of 2.5g, made-up of 90% silver and 10% copper, was a return to the previous design. We can see that it is clearly inspired by the ‘capped bust’, but with slight changes and a modernization in style. The obverse also represents an allegory of Freedom touched by a Phrygian cap, although we see that it is represented by a male figure. The back is a continuous design, dispensing with elaborate engravings.
These coins are becoming quite common. Except for some mints and key dates, they are affordable for almost every collector’s pocket.
5 – Winged Liberty Head Dime
The fifth type, between 1916 and 1945′ is the “Winged Liberty Head’.
We see again a total change of style. Another allegory of freedom is depicted, which is a recurrent theme in American numismatics. It is also called the ‘Mercury dime’, as the design seems to be inspired by the copper coins of the Roman Republic (here ancient roman coins post), which represented the god Mercury wearing a winged helmet.
Which are most valuable mercury dimes? Keep reading to find out…
This type is very common, and the coins that carry it will only have a significant value if they belong to a rare year or a scarce mint.
6 – Roosevelt Dimes
The sixth and final variety, for now, minted from 1946 to the present, is the ‘Roosevelt’.
The Roosevelt type was first coined after World War II. After the death of President Roosevelt, who led the United States in the conflict, the commemorative coin was thought to honor his memory. Initially, like its predecessor types, it was 90% silver. From 1965 onwards, it was minted in an alloy of copper and nickel, following a policy of not using precious metals for circulating coins.
If you want to know most valuable Roosevelt dimes, please keep reading…
How can you know the mint of your one dime coin?
The Mints that issued 10-cent coins are represented in the piece itself by a small die-cut letter. The guide to knowing the mint for minting dime is as follows:
- If it does not have a letter or has a ‘P’, it comes from the Philadelphia Mint, which is the main mint in the United States
- ‘S’ for San Francisco
- ‘O’ for New Orleans
- ‘D’ for Denver
- ‘CC’ for Carson City
We can see below the locations of the mint marks on the unique types minted on the Dime coins:
Silver dime values – how much is a silver dime worth?
How much is a silver dime worth? Let’s put together a list of the most valuable dimes on the market. Small variations in the state of conservation or in the tone can make a dime multiply in value. This classification is intended as a guide to answer the question of what dimes are worth most money.
Here is a list of the most expensive dimes in US history:
1. 1894-E Barber Dime – $1,000,000 – $2,000,000
In first position, we have the dime minted in San Francisco in 1894. Only 24 units were made. It is believed that these coins were produced only in PROOF status as a gift to great bankers in the area. Legend has it that the daughter of the Mint superintendent received three of these pieces from her father. One of them was used to buy an ice cream, and the other two were sold in the collector’s market in the 1950s. It is estimated that of the 24 original units, only 9 have survived.
2. 1873-CC Seated Liberty Dime (No arrows) – $1,880,000
This Carson City coined dime, with a print run of only 12,400 units, was sold at a Stack’s & Bowers public auction in 2012 for nearly $2 million.
3. Draped Bust Dime – 14 stars
The reason for this error is not exactly known. In the original coin, it is 13 stars instead of 14 – one for each original state. The record price for such a dime is $632,500 in a 2008 sale.
4. 1871-CC Seated Liberty Dime – $270,250
This currency has a record of more than $270,000, sold by Heritage Auctions in 2014. Even units that are hard to recognize due to wear and tear are usually priced at over $1,000. Their circulation is only 20,100 units.
5. 1872-CC Seated Liberty Dime – $184,000
We can see that the coins minted in Carson City have an exceedingly high value due to their very low circulation. Just in the intermediate year of the two previous ones in this ranking, with 35,480 units, an encapsulated copy in MS63 was sold at Stack’s & Bowers in 2012 for $184,000.
Table chart of the next most Valuable Dimes
Here are the subsequent rankings of most valuable dime pieces, making up the top 50 positions.
|6||Drapped Bust: 13 Stars1797||$83,000|
|11||Drapped Bust: 13 Stars1804||$63,500|
|13||Drapped Bust: 16 Stars1797||$49,750|
|15||Capped Bust: Curl Base 21829||$46,000|
|17||Draped Bust: Small 81798||$42,250|
|24||Drapped Bust: 5 Berries1805||$20,750|
|25||Drapped Bust: 8 Over 7 – 16 Stars1798||$20,750|
|26||Draped Bust: Large 81798||$20,750|
|27||Capped Bust: 4 Over 2 – Pointed Top 11824||$19,000|
|29||Mercury: 42 Over 411942||$15,750|
|31||Seated Liberty: Transitional Pattern: Obverse of 1859 – Reverse of 1860 – 1859||$15,750|
|33||Drapped Bust: 4 Berries1805||$14,750|
|34||Seated Liberty: Doubled Die Obverse1873||$13,250|
|39||Mercury: 42 Over 411942-D||$9,750|
|41||Seated Liberty: Reverse of 1838 O – 1839-O||$8,500|
|45||Capped Bust: 11 Over 091811||$6,500|
|47||Capped Bust: Extra Large 10C – 1829||$6,000|
|48||Seated Liberty: No Drapery1840-O||$6,000|
|50||Capped Bust: Large Date – Curl Base 2 – 1828||$5,750|
Bonus: 1964 Roosevelt Dime
Beyond its small face value, a Roosevelt dime may have great value to coin collectors.
In order for that to be the case, it is very likely that the coin has to be in a state close to Mint. Coins in this condition are the most valuable, given their impressive beauty. It was in 1964 when the Mint issued the last dime coins with 90% silver.
Chart of 1964 and 1965 dime values
The price of a Roosevelt Dime in circulation is its bullion value – the value given according to the amount of precious metal in the coin’s composition. If we consider that each coin has 0.07234 troy ounces of pure silver, we can determine its value.
|Date & Mint||Circulated Buy||Circulated Sell||Uncirculated Buy||Uncirculated Sell|
(F.V.= Face value, B.V.=Bullion value)
As always, rare dimes are worth money
As we can see, dimes are common coins that are nonetheless highly appreciated by collectors. They reach prices that we could call scandalous according to their dates and scarce mints.
Apasionado de las inversiones, historia y coleccionismo de monedas en general. Licenciado en Antropología Cultural por la UNED y graduado en Informática por la Universidad de Cádiz. Escribo en diversos medios digitales especializados en coleccionismo, subastas y antigüedades.
A fan of investments, numismatics, history and coin collecting in general. Graduate in Cultural Anthropology and computer science. I write in several digital media specialized in collecting, auctions and antiques reviews. I like reliable information, so my main sources are the American Numismatic Association (ANA), the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) and numismatic publications: CoinWeek, COINage, The Numismatist, Numismatic News, Coin Dealer Newsletter and Coin Values.