What Dimes Are Worth Money?
Contributed by Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez
All U.S. dimes made before 1965 are 90% silver, so they command prices many times their face value.
Most dimes produced after 1964 are worth only face value. There are exceptions, however, such as error coins.
Stack of Barber dimes
Looking for valuable dimes in circulation but not sure which ones are worth keeping? We're going to discuss what dimes you should be looking for in circulation. We'll also cover why they're special, and what they may be worth.
How to Know Which Dimes Are Valuable
You can drive yourself batty going through pocket change trying to figure out which dimes are worth the big bucks. So many dimes, so little time, right?
So, which ones should you focus your energy looking for, and which can be spent freely?
It's of course impossible to offer an exhaustive list of all valuable dimes in just this one blog post. Yet we can provide a thorough rundown of the key dimes you're most likely to find in circulation.
If you come across any dimes minted before 1917, consider yourself lucky. These classic dimes are not only scarce, but they’re also very difficult to find in circulation.
Toned Barber dime. Image: USA CoinBook
These old coins can include Bust dimes, Liberty Seated dimes, and Liberty Head (or “Barber”) dimes (shown above). Depending on their condition, they may be worth anywhere from $5 to more than $100.
Winged Liberty Head dimes, also known as Mercury dimes, are highly scarce. They do, however, turn up from time to time in circulation.
There are a few rare business strikes, such as the 1916-D, 1921, and 1921-D. There are also some other scarce varieties, including the 1942/1 and 1942/1-D overdates. All are worth hundreds of dollars or more in moderately circulated condition.
1943-D Mercury dime (obverse)
Most Mercury dimes are relatively common in well-worn grades. They are generally worth $3 to $5 in those lower grades.
1946–1964 Roosevelt Dimes
Roosevelt dimes struck before 1965 are made from a 90% silver composition. They are worth a premium for their precious metal content.
Most Roosevelt dimes from the 1946–1964 period are very common. Thus they are worth only their precious metal value if worn. In general, well-circulated Roosevelt dimes made before 1965 are worth between $1.25 and $2.
Lightly worn examples of scarcer issues are worth significantly more. This includes the 1949, 1949-D, and 1949-S. Each are worth about $5 and up.
Image: USA CoinBook
No-S Roosevelt Dimes
Several proof Roosevelt dimes from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s were minted at the San Francisco Mint without an "S" mintmark.
These No-S dimes were found only in proof sets. They should not be confused with pre-1980 business-strike dimes from the Philadelphia Mint. (The Philadelphia issues also do not carry a mintmark but are worth only face value if worn.)
These rare No-S dimes are worth anywhere from a few hundred dollars to more than $100,000.
1982 No-P Roosevelt Dimes
1982 "No-P" dime. Image: USA CoinBook
Some Philadelphia-minted Roosevelt dimes were struck without their "P" mintmarks. These pieces have become highly popular varieties.
While they are scarce, they can still be found in circulation with enough searching.
The most valuable examples are uncirculated pieces exhibiting a strong strike. Yet even worn examples are worth well above their face value. A typical 1982 No-P Roosevelt dime is worth $50 to $100.
1996-W Roosevelt Dimes
The United States Mint honored the 50th anniversary of the Roosevelt dime in 1996. It introduced a special dime bearing the "W" mintmark from the West Point Mint.
Image: USA CoinBook
These 1996-W dimes were distributed only in 1996 uncirculated sets. Yet some of the dimes have been removed from their cellophane packages only to be spent as regular money.
An uncirculated 1996-W Roosevelt dime is worth around $15. Circulated specimens are also worth a premium of about $5 to $10 apiece.
Dimes With Doubled Dies
With enough careful searching you may find a doubled die Roosevelt dime.
This hub doubling may range from very light to drastic. But in all cases doubled dies are scarce collectibles that are worth decent premiums of $25 to $50 or more.
The more dramatic the doubled die, the more valuable. That's particularly true if the doubling can be clearly seen with the naked eye. Some folks go bananas looking for a doubled die visible only under 5x magnification.
Doubled dies that can be seen only under high magnification are generally not very valuable, although they are true errors.
Dimes With Off-Center Strikes
An off-center strike can occur one of two ways. Either the dies are misaligned or the retaining collar fails to deploy. (The collar helps center the coin between the dies.)
Off-center strikes of less than 5% aren't necessarily worth big premiums. Those between 10% and 50% off-center are worth anywhere from $15 to $100, possibly more if the entire date is visible!
Dimes With Other Errors
Most things that people think are errors are really just post-mint damage. Still, there is a wide array of mint mistakes worth sizeable premiums:
- die clashes
- strikethrough errors
- die caps
Values for errors coins such as these run the gamut. They range from only a few dollars in the case of a mild die clash to several hundred dollars for impressive die caps.
Tips For Looking For Valuable Dimes
Many people limit their search for rare and valuable dimes to simply the coins passing through their hands after a cash transaction. That works. But there are more efficient ways to look for these collectible coins. You can check bank rolls, bags, and boxes obtainable at face value from the bank.
Looking through major quantities of dimes is highly efficient—far more so than waiting to find one or two dimes at a time through pocket change.
Searching through rolls, bags, and boxes of dimes can also be quite rewarding. Many people who aren't collectors will look for every last coin of a denomination to fill up a roll, even it means spending an old coin to do it.
Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez is a journalist, editor, and blogger who has won multiple awards from the Numismatic Literary Guild. He has also authored numerous books, including works profiling the history of the United States Mint and United States coinage.
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