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Lots of people collect dimes — let’s just get that out there here and now for the record.
But compared to pennies, quarters, and silver dollars… the U.S. dime fanbase could probably fit on, well, a dime.
It’s an odd thing, really…
The dime has been a part of the United States coinage system since 1796 –and has remained an important part of American commerce ever since.
Unlike pennies, dimes actually get spent in circulation.
And nickels are far bulkier and heavier than their double-worthy coin counterpart.
But at the end of the day, collector preference for the U.S. dime is simply not as robust as it is for other denominations.
So, why is this?
Let’s talk about the dime, its importance in the coin-collecting world, and how you stand to benefit from the current state of affairs for the 10-cent coin…
Why Do So Few Coin Collectors Save Dimes?
The dime plays an integral role in United States commerce — offering double the face value of a nickel and 40% of a quarter’s buying power.
They’re essential for making change in certain vending machine transactions. And they offer cashiers a suitable substitute for quarters when that larger denomination is running low in the till — 2 dimes and 1 nickel equal a quarter, 5 dimes represent 2 quarters for 50 cents, and so on.
But when it comes to coin collectors, they seem to have less use for the dime…
The dime is currently the smallest circulating coin by physical dimensions. Measuring a diminutive 17.9 millimeters in diameter and weighing just 2.268 grams on a coin scale, it’s even smaller and lighter than the current penny, which has a breadth of 19.05 millimeters and tips the scales at 2.5 grams.
Unlike pennies — which people toss willy nilly into change jars or even, sometimes, the trash — many folks seem to think twice about how they spend their dimes.
It’s safe to say a great many Americans have at least a small hoard of pennies laying around. But how many jars of dimes have you heard about?
It’s relatively easy to begin a collection of pennies when you’ve got them sitting around your home by the hundreds or thousands. It’s a little more challenging to begin a collection of U.S. dimes that way, especially since more people are trying to find those few spare dimes around the house to spend — not to collect!
There are even more factors surrounding the dime that don’t exactly scream “collect me” to many collectors today…
The Roosevelt dime has been in production since 1946, and in all those years the only significant changes to the coin have been:
- Its metallic composition
- The location of the mintmark
Plus, there really aren’t any major regular-issue rarities among the Roosevelt dimes to catch people’s attention.
Even the Mercury dime series — which ran from 1916 through 1945 and was replaced by the Roosevelt dime — has just one significant rarity (the 1916-D) and a small handful of less-expensive semi-key dates.
Ditto for the Barber dimes that immediately preceded the Mercury dimes from 1892 through 1916 — there are only a couple of big dates and just a few moderately expensive semi-keys.
Now, none of this is to say there aren’t some worthy collectibles to be found in the modern dimes, and we will go over some of these in a minute. But the bottom line here is that many collectors seem to think there isn’t much flash to the dimes, so their attention turns elsewhere.
Why You Should Collect Dimes
The Barber, Mercury, and Roosevelt dime series of the 20th century may not necessarily attract the big numbers of collectors that swarm to Lincoln pennies, Washington quarters, or Morgan and Peace silver dollars. However, that can be a great thing for collectors!
Dimes are what many coin experts refer to as a sleeper series — the one that that offers tremendous opportunities, if only more people knew about them.
Any of the rare U.S. dimes in the Barber, Mercury, and Roosevelt series are expensive — don’t get me wrong.
There are some rare and valuable dimes worth big money. However, these rare dime values might go even higher someday if only more collectors compete with each other to buy them. As they say… it’s better to get in on the ground floor!
Let’s look at a few of the rare dimes from the 20th century and see what they’re worth:
- 1901-S Barber dime — $75+
- 1903-S Barber dime — $80+
- 1905-O Micro O Barber dime — $50+
- 1913-S Barber dime — $30+
- 1916-D Mercury dime — $750+
- 1921 Mercury dime — $40+
- 1921-D Mercury dime — $55+
- 1926-S Mercury dime — $10+
- 1942/1 overdate Mercury dime — $425+
- 1942/1-D overdate Mercury dime — $400+
- 1964-D doubled die Roosevelt dime — $25+
- 1965 silver dime Roosevelt dime — $3,000+
- 1968 no-S proof Roosevelt dime — $15,000+
- 1970 no-S proof Roosevelt dime — $500+
- 1975 no-S proof Roosevelt dime — $400,000+
- 1982 no-P Roosevelt dime — $30+
- 1983 no-S proof Roosevelt dime — $500+
- 1996-W Roosevelt dime — $10+
How To Find Rare Dimes Worth More Than Face Value
You can buy rare U.S. dimes worth more than face value from a coin dealer.
Or, you can try finding these old coins in your spare change.
Of course, you may not find many old silver dimes like the 1903-S Barber dime or 1916-D Mercury dimes in circulation — but you can land some of the rare and valuable Roosevelt dimes searching bank rolls.
Unfortunately, the rare no-S proof Roosevelt dimes, such as those from 1968 and 1975, can only be found in proof sets.
But you can find others (like the 1965 silver dime and 1982 no-P dime) in circulation. And you may also locate other valuable dimes that way — including errors and varieties!
Tips For Building A Collection Of U.S. Dimes
Whether you decide to buy rare dimes from a coin dealer, look for them in pocket change, or find other ways to collect these coins, there are many exciting ways to build a dime collection.
And since the competition for dimes isn’t necessarily as fierce as it is for other coins, you’ve got the luxury of plentiful choices and the chance to score some nice-quality coins for your collection!
Looking for ideas on what types of dime sets to build?
Here are some fun ways to start collecting dimes:
- Dime type set
- Barber dimes (1892-1916)
- Mercury dimes (1916-1945)
- Roosevelt dimes (1946-present)
- 90% silver Roosevelt dimes (1946-1964)
- Copper-nickel clad Roosevelt dimes (1965-present)
- Proof Roosevelt dimes (1950-present)
I’m the Coin Editor here at TheFunTimesGuide. My love for coins began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the 20th century. I’m a member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) and have won multiple awards from the NLG for my work as a coin journalist. I’m also the editor at the Florida United Numismatists Club (FUN Topics magazine), and author of Images of America: The United States Mint in Philadelphia (a book that explores the colorful history of the Philadelphia Mint). I’ve contributed hundreds of articles for various coin publications including COINage, The Numismatist, Numismatic News, Coin Dealer Newsletter, Coin Values, and CoinWeek. I’ve authored nearly 1,000 articles here at The Fun Times Guide to Coins (many of them with over 50K shares), and I welcome your coin questions in the comments below!