The most valuable dimes worth money have sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars. It pays to know what dimes are worth money and which dimes are pocket change.
Someday, you might have a treasure fall right into the palm of your hand.
Dimes have been ten-cent coins since they were introduced in the U.S. in 1796 during the early years of the United States Federal Mint.
The United States Mint is the government department responsible for manufacturing approved coinage for the U.S. The first mint was the Philadelphia Mint, founded in 1792.
The History of Dimes
Because of their long history, dimes are an important part of coin collecting.
Let’s take a numismatic look at the different types of dimes and their defining features.
Here’s the list of Dimes since the beginning –
- Draped Bust Dimes, 1796 to 1807
- Capped Bust Dimes, 1809 to 1837
- Seated Liberty Dimes, 1837 to 1891
- Barber Dimes, 1892 to 1916
- Mercury Dimes, 1916 to 1945
- Roosevelt Dimes, 1946 to Present
The Draped Bust Dime
The first dimes were silver and featured a design known as the “Draped Bust” on the obverse (the front of the coin).
The Draped Bust depicted Lady Liberty with her hair flowing down her back, the word “Liberty” above her, and stars around her.
The reverse featured an eagle and “10C” on the back to indicate the value of the coin.
From 1796 to 1797, the eagle was rendered as small. However, in 1798, the design was changed to appear more majestic, with its wings outstretched, taking inspiration from the U.S. Great Seal.
In 1796, there were 15 stars representing the current number of states in the Union.
Two versions of the dime were issued, one with 13 stars and the other with 16. The mint ended up sticking with the 13-star design.
Draped Bust Dime Key Dates
Key dates for the Draped Bust dime that are most valuable are:
- 1798 “8 over 7,” 13 Stars: The 1798-1787 variety of the Draped Bust Dime features “1798” stamped over “1797” in such a way that the “7” is visible under the “8”.
- 1797 Small Eagle, 13 Stars: There were limited quantities of these rare dimes, making them quite valuable collectibles.
The Draped Bust dime remained in circulation until 1809 when it was replaced by a new design.
The Capped Bust Dime
In 1809, the Draped Bust made way for the Capped Bust, which featured a portrait of Liberty wearing a pointed cap (known as the “Phrygian Cap”) on her head.
This cap was styled after Ancient Greece caps and was an important symbol of freedom in America during the Revolutionary War.
On the Capped Bust design, 13 stars surround Liberty, representing the 13 original colonies of the United States.
On the reverse is an eagle with its wings outstretched, a shield on its breast, and arrows with an olive branch beneath it.
The reverse is inscribed with “E Pluribus Unum,” a Latin motto meaning “out of many, one.”
Capped Bust Dime Key Dates
Important dates for the Capped Bust rare coins include:
- 1824 “4 over 2” – Pointy “1”: These elusive error coins display the “4” stamped over the “2”; The “1” on the coin also has a pointed top rather than a flat one.
- 1829 Curl Base “2” Liberty Cap Dime: This dime is classified as rare because it was only produced for a short time, and only a few examples exist today. In good condition, it can be worth tens of thousands of dollars.
- 1822 10C: This dime is popular because it was produced in limited quantities. Only 100,000 coins.
The Capped design was used from 1809 to 1837 before the debut of the Seated Liberty Design.
The Seated Liberty Dime
The Liberty Seated dime design features a seated depiction of Liberty holding a staff with a cap on the obverse.
The reverse shows an eagle wearing a shield and holding arrows with olive branches in its talons.
Seated Liberty Dime Key Dates
Some of the key dates for valuable coins of the Seated Liberty dime are:
- 1871- and 1873-CC: These dimes were minted in Carson City, Nevada, coin values are high, as these are some of the rarest dimes. Only 12,400 1873-CC dimes were minted, while only 20,100 1871-CC dimes were produced.
- 1872-S: This dime was minted in San Francisco and was also produced in limited quantities, making it quite rare.
In 1891, the Barber design replaced the Seated Liberty design, which was named after its designer, Charles E. Barber.
The Barber Dime
The Barber Dime design depicts Liberty crowned with an eagle on the reverse and a laurel wreath on the obverse. This design is sometimes called the “Liberty Head Dime.”
Barber Dime Key Dates
Key dates for the Barber dime include:
- 1894-S Barber Dime – Minted in San Francisco, only 24 of these dimes were ever known to exist, making it one of the rarest dimes and one highly prized by collectors — in 2007, an 1894-S dime was sold for $1.9 million
In 1916, the Barber dime was replaced by the Mercury dime.
The Mercury Dime
Adolph A. Weinman designed the Mercury dime. Though it features a portrait of Liberty wearing a winged cap, it received its name because the figure is often mistaken for the Roman god Mercury.
A 1916-D MS-65 Mercury dime, or winged liberty head dime, sold for $30,000 at a Stack’s auction in 2007.
Mercury Dime Key Dates
The rarest Mercury dimes include:
- 1916-D: minted in Denver. With a silver content of 90% and a low mintage of only 264,000, 1916-D Mercury dimes are rare and valuable coins.
- 1921-D: minted in Denver
- 1926-S: minted in San Francisco
The Mercury dime was in production until 1946 when the Roosevelt dime took over.
Most Valuable Roosevelt Dimes
The Roosevelt dime was first introduced in 1946 after President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s death in 1945. This dime has a fascinating history.
The design features a portrait of President Roosevelt on the obverse, along with the inscriptions “Liberty” and “In God We Trust.”
On the reverse are a torch, an oak branch, and an olive branch.
These are the same symbols as several other U.S. coins intended to represent Liberty, peace, and strength.
Roosevelt Dime Controversy
The design of the Roosevelt dime was controversial for various reasons.
One of them involves rumors that the dime’s designer, John Sinnock, copied the likeness of President Roosevelt from sculptor Selma Hortense Burke.
Other rumors claim that Sinnock used a photo taken by photographer Marcel Sternberger.
Despite the controversy, the Roosevelt dime quickly became popular and remains in circulation today.
There have been some small changes to the layout over the years, but the basic design has remained the same.
Roosevelt Dime Key Dates
Although this dime is still circulating today, some Roosevelt dimes worth money can still make great collectibles.
Are Roosevelt dimes silver coins? From 1946-1964, Roosevelt dimes were struck at the U.S. Mint with 90% silver composition. That’s a silver Roosevelt dime with .07234 ounces. The other 10% is copper.
In 1965, Roosevelt dimes changed their composition to copper-nickel, 25% nickel clad over a 75% copper core.
- 1975 No “S” – produced at the San Francisco U.S. Mint, this dime has no mint mark; only two are confirmed to exist.
- 1968 No “S” – Another dime produced at the San Francisco mint missing a mint mark.
- 1980 was the year the Philadelphia Mint started using the “P” mint mark for the P Roosevelt dime.
- 1996-W Roosevelt dime – Coin collectors scrambled to gather up dimes from 1996. It was a limited release in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Roosevelt U.S. dime. Only 1.4 million 1996 Roosevelt dimes were struck at the West Point Mint.
- 1965 90% Silver Roosevelt dime error – Exactly how many silver transitional error coins exist is unknown. Still, when the Roosevelt dime changed its composition from silver to copper-nickel at the end of 1964, a few 1965 dimes were made with silver before the planchets were changed. In excellent condition, prices for 1965 Roosevelt silver dime errors is $9,000.
Tips for Finding Valuable Dimes Worth Money
When hunting for valuable dimes, there are three main characteristics you’ll want to look at closely: the coin’s year, which will tell you if it’s silver or not, the condition of the specimen, and the mint mark.
The mint mark indicates where a coin is minted.
Different mint marks can mean different mintages and degrees of rarity, which can impact the value of the coin.
Valuable Dimes Worth Money – Proof Sets
There are a few amazing dime proof sets that you need to be aware of. The 1975 Proof Set ‘No-S’ Roosevelt Dime sold for more than $300,000.
Collectors flock to proof sets, and there’s a good reason. Certain dime proof sets in high grades can truly be worth a fortune.
Valuable Error Dimes Worth Money
Valuable dime error coins include missing mint marks, double striking die, clipped planchets, off-center strikes, and blank planchets.
1982-P Roosevelt dime missing “P” mint mark error
Roughly 15,000 missing P mint mark coins exist, are in good condition, and can be valued at $400 or more.
1983-S Roosevelt Proof dime missing “S” mint mark error
Proof dime errors missing the mintmark are rare and can be worth $2,000 or more.
It might not be considered an “error,” but full-band Roosevelt dimes command a hefty premium in value compared to a similar coin without full bands.
Check the reverse side and look at the top and bottom of the torch.
You might be able to see detailed bands.
A 1963 Full Band Roosevelt dime sold at Heritage auctions for $645 in 2014.
Condition For Dimes Worth Money
The condition of a dime is one of the most critical factors in determining its value.
Collectors and coin dealers look for dimes in excellent condition, with minimal damage and wear.
Well-preserved dimes are worth more than those heavily circulated or damaged.
For example, the 1954 Roosevelt dime series in uncirculated condition can be worth several hundred dollars, while the same coins in well-worn condition might only be worth ten cents, or face value.
The Sheldon Grading Scale
Coins are graded from 1–70 on a scale known in the coin industry as the Sheldon grading scale.
Numismatic Guaranty Company (NGC), and Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), both use the Sheldon scale, with “1” being the worst possible condition and “70” indicating the rarest, perfect mint condition.
- 1: Poor — The coin’s design is barely discernible
- 2: Fair — The type and date are somewhat discernable, but the coin is excessively worn or damaged; major identifiable details aren’t discernable
- 3: About Good — The type and date are discernable, but other spots are quite worn
- 4: Good (G) — The primary features of the coin are discernable via outlines, but the coin is heavily worn
- 6: Good-Plus (G+) — The features of the coin are clearly outlined, and major devices are easy to identify.
- 8: Very Good (V.G.) — Most legends on the coin are clearly legible, and it has a full rim with identifiable features and devices, but it’s still significantly worn.
- 12: Fine (F) — Clear devices show some level of detail, but the whole coin is moderately worn.
- 20: Very Fine (V.F.) — The coin is legible, the legends are lightly worn, the devices still show good detail, and the rims of the coin are clean, but there’s moderate wear on the high points.
- 30: Good Very Fine (V.F.) — Similar to Very Fine, with the high points lightly worn.
- 40: Extremely Fine (X.F.) — Sharp legends, precise devices, slight yet noticeable wear on high points
- 45: Choice Extremely Fine (X.F.) — Similar to Extremely Fine, but with slight wear
- 50: About Uncirculated (A.U.) — The coin is in excellent condition, with slight traces of wear on the highest points; some amount of mint luster remaining on the coin
- 55: Good About Uncirculated (A.U.) — Similar to About Uncirculated, but the remaining mint luster must be on at least half the coin
- 58: Choice About Uncirculated (A.U.) — The coin appears virtually uncirculated, with nearly all the mint luster present
- 60–70: Mint State Basal (M.S.) — The coins are in mint condition with no visible wear
Are Your Dimes Worth More Than 10 Cents?
Take the time to evaluate the condition of your dimes and do a little research to determine the design, mint mark, and condition.
Because of their small size, dimes don’t get the attention of a larger coin like a half dollar or silver dollar.
Even quarters worth just a few dollars seem to get more attention than the tiny shiny dime.
We know from finding wheat pennies worth hundreds of dollars there are dimes out there worth just as much, if not more, just waiting to be discovered.
One of those seemingly worthless coins in your pocket change could be worth much more than 10 cents.
There’s Still More to Learn About the Dime –
Know We Know That –
- The most valuable Draped Bust dime was an 1804 Star Reverse coin selling for the price of $632,000.
- The 1871-CC Liberty Seated dime sold at auction for $270,000, a record price for Liberty Seated dime currency.
- The record value for the Barber dime is the 1894-S that sold for almost $2 million. Just one of nine examples of the Proof coin from that year.
But Wait, There’s Even More To Learn About U.S. Dimes –
- The 2 million dollar 1894-S Barber Proof coin is coveted by the world’s top coin collectors. At one time, it was owned by James A. Stack, Louis Eliasberg, and John M. Clapp. Legends in the rare coin collecting community.
- The word “dime” comes from the word “Decimus,” which is Latin for “one-tenth.”
- The very first U.S. dime was struck in 1796 after it was authorized by the Coinage Act of 1792.
- Before the Coinage Act of 1792, the first mention of a U.S. coinage system based on decimals was proposed by Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and others in 1783.
- The reason dimes are so small is because they were meant to be one-tenth of a dollar, but also contain 90$ silver. If they made dimes much larger, they would be worth much more than the desired value in silver.
- In 1792, The Coinage Act authorized the “Disme,” but the coins were never circulated.
- Adolph A. Weinman designed the Winged Liberty Head, otherwise known as the Mercury Dime. Weinman worked under Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the designer of a few of the most valuable coins in the world.
Ready to Learn More About Coin Collecting?
- Sell your coins online with these great resources.
- Not ready to sell? But want to know what your coins are worth?
- Just learning the basics of coin collecting? Here’s a great place to start.
Additional Resources –
The United States Dime – U.S. Mint
Rare Coin Values – PCGS