The dime is the smallest US coin in circulation. When the US first began minting coins they used the value of the metal to determine the value of a coin. Therefore 10/100th of the metal used to make silver dollars was used to make dimes. The size of the coin was directly proportional to it’s value. While the US has moved away from minting coins based on the value of the metal the weight proportionality has remained. A dime is 10% the weight of a silver dollar. What’s interesting to note is that a pound of coins, whether they be silver dollars, quarters, or dimes is always worth exactly $20. Weighing coins is the main method banks use to verify the value of coins people trade in.
The most valuable dimes are as follows:
1) 1873-CC No Arrows Seated Liberty Dime
This dime was produced at the Carson City mint, which was only in operation from 1870
through 1893. In 1873 the mint produced 12,400 dimes which were known as “no arrow” dimes because they didn’t include arrows as part of the design that other dimes produced the same year contained. After the dimes were produced the US mint decided to add the arrows to increase the weight of the dime so that the value of the dime’s metal would match the face value. All the dimes were supposed to have been melted down and refashioned using the new design but one was kept by a mint employee. Only one “no arrow” Carson City minted dime from 1873 is known to exist. In 2012 it sold at auction for $1.84 million.
2) 1916 “D” Mercury Dime
1916 was the first year of a new design for the dime, which lasted until 1945. These dimes were minted in Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Denver. While millions of coins were minted in 1916, less than 250,000 were produced at the Denver mint. Normally when a new design is introduced and one mint produces significantly less than others collectors take notice and increase their stock of the new coin. For whatever reason that didn’t happen with in 1916 dime. Most were released into general circulation with very few kept as collector items which means the 1916 “D” coin is extremely rare. If you happen across a 1916 dime look for a small “D” on the edge of the coin on the tail side which identifies it as having been minted in Denver. A high quality coin can be worth as much as $30 thousand and even a low quality coin worth as much as a thousand!
3) 1921 Mercury Dime
The mint took a one year break from producing dimes in 1922 so there was a break between the 1921 version and the 1923 version. Most dimes produced in 1921 had either a “P”, “S”, or “D” stamped on the tail side of the coin indicating it was produced in either Philadelphia, San Francisco, or Denver. However, a small number of coins were produced without a mint mark making them more rare and valuable than coins with a mint mark. A good condition condition coin is worth up to $4,000.
4) 1921 “D” Mercury Dime
Like the 1921 dime listed above, this coin, which was minted in Denver, was much more rare than coins produced in either San Francisco or Philadelphia. The mercury head dime got it’s name not because there’s any mercury used to produce the coins but because of a common misconception regarding the identity of the bust depicted on the heads side of the coin. The woman shown is actually a young lady liberty wearing a winged helmet. Many people confused her with the Roman god Mercury, who was also known to wear a winged helmet. A good condition coin is worth as much as $3,500.
5) 1926 “S” Mercury Dime
Just 4% of the dimes produced in 1926 were minted in San Francisco and very few are known to exist today which is why coins with the “S” stamp are so valuable. The tail side of the mercury dime shows a fasces, which is a bundle of wood and an axe, which the Romans used to depict power. The fasces is wrapped with an olive branch which depicts peace. In good condition, this coins can be worth as much as $3,000.
6) 1919 “D” Mercury Dime
The 1919 Mercury dime minted in Denver is very rare with only a small percentage of dimes from that year having been minted there. The mercury dime was designed by sculptor Adolph Weinman who also designed the Walking Liberty Half Dollar. Over two billion mercury dimes were minted over a 29 year period making it one of the most successful and longest running US coin designs. A 1919 “D” Mercury dime can be worth over $2,000.
There are a number of other rare dimes, but the dimes included on this list are the most valuable. o find out about other valuable coins check out the home page.