Most Valuable Dimes: A Comprehensive Guide to Rare and Collectible Coins

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Collecting coins has long been a popular hobby among numismatists and enthusiasts drawn to the history, intricate designs, and rarity of certain coins. One particular area of interest in coin collecting is dimes, where a select few in the United States hold great value that may surprise those unfamiliar with the subject. The most valuable dimes can fetch prices far exceeding their diminutive size, with some reaching into the millions of dollars.

The factors contributing to a dime’s value can range from low production numbers and historical significance, to mint errors and exceptional preservation. Rarity, condition, and demand play significant roles in determining the worth of these sought-after dimes. Among the most notable examples are the Draped Bust Dimes, Capped Bust Dimes, Seated Liberty Dimes, Barber Dimes, Mercury Dimes, and Roosevelt Dimes, each carrying a unique story and place in numismatic history.

As we delve into the world of highly prized dimes, it is essential to consider the factors that have led to such valuations, thereby giving collectors and investors a better understanding of what makes these small pieces of metal so significant and, in many cases, invaluable. By examining the stories behind these coveted dimes, one gains insight into the ever-evolving narrative of coin collecting and the quest for the rarest and most valuable specimens in the numismatic world.

Most Valuable Dimes Overview

The United States has produced many types of dimes throughout its history, with some being more valuable than others due to their rarity, condition, and historical significance. Several dime series stand out as particularly valuable, including the Draped Bust, Capped Bust, Seated Liberty, Barber, Mercury, and Roosevelt dimes.

The Draped Bust Dimes were minted between 1796 and 1807, with some commanding up to seven figures in price. Similarly, Capped Bust Dimes were produced between 1809 and 1837, with several scarce issues being highly sought after by collectors. The Seated Liberty Dimes featured a sitting Lady Liberty and were minted from 1837 to 1891, making it the longest-running dime design in US history. Like its predecessors, certain issues within the Seated Liberty dime series are incredibly rare and valuable.

Barber Dimes, minted from 1892 to 1916, and Mercury Dimes, which were produced from 1916 to 1945, represent more recent valuable coin series. While many issues within these two series are not as rare as earlier dimes, several key dates are considered numismatic treasures that fetch high prices at auctions.

Lastly, the modern Roosevelt Dime series began in 1946 and is still in production today. Although most Roosevelt dimes have little numismatic value, certain errors and rare silver issues can be quite valuable to collectors.

In conclusion, factors such as rarity, condition, and historical significance contribute to the high value of certain dimes across various series. As collectors and enthusiasts continue to seek out these treasured coins, their prices solidify their status as some of the most valuable dimes in history.

Key Factors Affecting Value


Rarity greatly influences the value of a dime. The fewer dimes that were minted in a particular year or series, the higher the demand, and consequently, the higher the price. Rare dimes, such as the 1822 Capped Bust Dime or the 1802 Draped Bust Dime, are highly sought after by collectors, adding to their worth.


The condition of a dime, also known as its grade, is essential in determining its value. High-quality grades (60 or higher) are referred to as “mint” state coins and are considered the most valuable. For example, the 1945 S Micro S Full Band Mercury Dime, with a high grade, sold at auction for $25,850 in 2019. Collectors value dimes with minimal wear or damage, and those that have been well-preserved are generally more desirable.

Mintage Year

The year a dime was minted also impacts its value, with older coins tending to be more valuable. Early dimes, such as the 1797 Small Eagle, 16 stars Draped Bust Dime, hold significant historical value and are considered valuable. Collectors compete to acquire dimes from specific periods, which drives up their prices. As a guideline, some of the most valuable dimes and their worth are as follows:

  • 1822 Capped Bust Dime: $16,600 – $27,900
  • 1916 D Mercury Dime: $15,000 – $30,000
  • 1843 O Seated Liberty Dime: $20,000-$38,000
  • 1846 P Seated Liberty Dime: $13,000-$41,000
  • 1797 Small Eagle, 16 stars Draped Bust Dime: $35,000 – $52,000
  • 1802 Draped Bust Dime: $38,000 – $50,000
  • 1803 Draped Bust Dime: $52,000 – $70,000

In summary, the factors that contribute to the value of a dime are its rarity, condition, and mintage year. Understanding how these factors affect a dime’s worth is crucial for collectors and enthusiasts alike.

Top Most Valuable Dimes

In this section, we’ll discuss some of the most valuable dimes in US coin history. These rare dimes are highly sought after by collectors and have significant value. We’ll focus on the following three examples: the 1916-D Mercury Dime, the 1894-S Barber Dime, and the 1874-CC Seated Liberty Dime.

1916-D Mercury Dime

The 1916-D Mercury Dime is one of the most valuable and sought-after dimes in US coin history. The rarity of this coin is due to its limited mintage, with only about 264,000 coins produced. It features Lady Liberty with a winged cap, resembling the Roman god Mercury, on the obverse, and a bundle of rods with an ax on the reverse.

The value of a 1916-D Mercury Dime relies heavily on its condition, with coins in mint or near-mint conditions fetching the highest prices. A well-preserved example can be worth over $25,000, while an exceptionally well-preserved specimen in mint state can command values in excess of $300,000.

1894-S Barber Dime

Another extremely valuable dime is the 1894-S Barber Dime. Its mintage was limited to just 24 coins, making it one of the rarest and most valuable coins in the United States. The coin features a portrait of Lady Liberty designed by Charles E. Barber and became standard on the dime in 1892.

A key element that affects the value of an 1894-S Barber Dime is its condition. Examples in lower grades have sold for over $100,000, but when found in pristine uncirculated condition, the value can skyrocket. A specimen in mint state once fetched a staggering $1.9 million at auction, showcasing its rarity and desirability among collectors.

1874-CC Seated Liberty Dime

Lastly, the 1874-CC Seated Liberty Dime is another highly valuable dime due to its low mintage and association with the famous Carson City Mint in Nevada. The Carson City Mint produced a limited number of the Seated Liberty Dimes, with only 10,817 minted in 1874. The coin features Liberty seated on a rock, holding a shield and a pole with a cap on top, while the reverse showcases a wreath surrounding the denomination.

As with the other examples, the condition of the 1874-CC Seated Liberty Dime plays a significant role in determining its value. In lower grades, the coin can be worth around $3,000, but examples in mint state condition can command prices upwards of $50,000 to $70,000.

Grading and Authenticating Dimes

Grading Standards

Grading is a crucial aspect of collecting valuable dimes, as it determines the condition and overall value of the coin. There are two main organizations that certify coins, the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) and the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC). They both use the Sheldon Scale to assign a numerical rating, ranging from 1 to 70. Coins rated 60 or higher are considered “mint” state coins and are the most valuable.

The Sheldon Scale grading factors include:

  • Luster
  • Strike
  • Surface preservation
  • Eye appeal

Coins in higher grades will appear closer to their original mint condition and will generally command higher prices. When looking for valuable dimes, assessing the grade of the coin is essential to understanding its worth.

Submitting for Authentication

When you believe you’ve found a rare or valuable dime, it’s essential to have it authenticated by a third-party grading service such as PCGS or NGC. Following the submission guidelines for each organization is critical to obtaining an accurate grade and protecting your coin during the authentication process.

Steps for submitting a coin for authentication and grading:

  1. Choose a grading service: Research and select a reputable grading service such as PCGS or NGC.
  2. Prepare your coin: Carefully place the coin in a protective holder or secure packaging to ensure its safety during transit.
  3. Fill out the submission form: Provide necessary information on the submission form, including coin information, your contact details, and the desired service level.
  4. Ship your coin: Follow the shipping guidelines provided by the grading service to ensure the safe delivery of your coin.
  5. Receive the results: Once the coin has been authenticated and graded, you will receive the results and have the option to store the coin in a protective holder provided by the grading service.

Submitting your dime for authentication and grading not only helps determine its true value but also adds credibility when selling or trading within the collecting community.

Dime Collections and Investment Strategies

Building a Collection

Building a valuable dime collection requires a mix of research, patience, and a keen eye for detail. Start by focusing on key dates, mints, and special varieties, such as:

  • 1874 CC Liberty Seated Dime – $115,000
  • 1916 D Mercury Dime – $41,000
  • 1859 S Liberty Seated Dime – $27,500

These coins are considered highly sought-after and may appreciate in value over time. Be sure to research each coin’s mintage, rarity, and historical significance. Additionally, focus on coins in high grades, as their conditions greatly influence their value. Consult reputable coin grading services, such as NGC and PCGS, to ensure that your collection is of top quality.

Long-Term Investing

Investing in rare dimes can be a rewarding endeavor, provided you approach it with diligence and a clear strategy. Here are some helpful suggestions for long-term investing in dimes:

  • Diversify your portfolio: Don’t limit your investments to just one type or series of dimes. Instead, include a mix of Draped Bust, Capped Bust, Seated Liberty, Barber, Mercury, and Roosevelt dimes. This will reduce the risk associated with fluctuations in the coin market.
  • Invest in key date and mintmark coins: Key date and mintmark coins generally hold their value better and have higher appreciation potential. Look for coins with low mintages and high demand in the market.
  • Preserve the condition of your coins: Store your dimes in proper holders, such as coin capsules, albums, or inert Mylar flips. Avoid PVC-based storage materials, as these can cause chemical damage to the coins.
  • Stay educated: Keep yourself updated on the coin market trends, grading standards, and new discoveries in the coin collecting world. This knowledge will enable you to make informed decisions and better assess the value of your collection.

With a well-rounded collection and a long-term investment strategy, you can confidently build a valuable dime portfolio that has the potential to appreciate over time.

Written by Camille Moore

Camille has a master's degree from Saint Joseph University's Writing Studies program, and she currently works as the Writing Center Assistant Director at a small university in western Pennsylvania. Camille's writing has been published on several websites, and she enjoys writing articles and short stories in her spare time. You can follow Camille on Twitter @CamealAshley.