What is the rarest dime? The world of coin collecting can be an exciting one, with collectors always on the hunt for rare and valuable pieces to add to their collections. Some of the most sought-after coins are older dimes that have low mintages, unique errors or are in pristine condition.

If you’re wondering what the rarest dime is, read on as we explore some of the top contenders.

1894-S Barber Dime

Mintage and Rarity

The 1894-S dime is considered one of the rarest and most valuable coins in the world. Only 24 specimens were minted at the San Francisco Mint that year, making it a highly coveted rarity for collectors and numismatists.

The low mintage was likely since in 1894 the San Francisco Mint focused heavily on producing Morgan silver dollars to rebuild Treasury reserves. With resources allocated elsewhere, fewer than two dozen dimes were struck as test pieces.

Of the 24 coins produced, 9 are presently confirmed to exist. The others have been lost or destroyed over the past century. With so few in existence, the 1894-S acquires its status as a legendary rarity.

Notable Sales and Value

When an 1894-S dime appears at auction, it generates tremendous enthusiasm among collectors. Recent sales include:

  • An MS-63 graded specimen sold in 2021 for $4,560,000, setting a new record for the highest price paid at auction.
  • In 2018, a PCGS MS-64 example brought $1,320,000.
  • An AU-58 coin realized $1,997,500 in 2016.

The infrequent trading frequency allows values to steadily escalate over decades. Most experts believe the 1894-S now stands among the top 3 most valuable US dimes in existence, behind only the 1804 Draped Bust dime and the 1873-CC Seated Liberty with no arrows dime.

Grade Value Estimate
MS-60 $850,000 – $1.25 million
MS-63 $1.5 – $2 million
MS-65 (perfect gem) Over $4 million

With so few specimens known, numismatists may wait years for another 1894-S to appear at auction. When one does, it generates excitement throughout the coin community and brings multimillion-dollar prices, cementing its legendary rarity status.

1913-S Barber Dime

Low Mintage

The 1913-S Barber dime has an extremely low mintage of just 510,000 coins. This makes it one of the rarest and most coveted US dimes among collectors. In fact, out of the 510,000 coins minted, numismatists estimate that only 30 examples of the 1913-S still exist today.

The tiny mintage is largely due to the transition from the Barber coinage design to the new Mercury dime in 1916. The San Francisco Mint curtailed Barber dime production in 1913 as it prepared to switch over to the Mercury design.

This left the 1913-S with a circulation mintage of a mere fraction of what earlier Barber dimes saw.

Value and Notable Examples

Given its rarity, the 1913-S Barber dime commands an exceptionally high price. Most examples sell for around $2 million to $4 million at auction when they come up for sale. This makes the 1913-S one of the most valuable US dimes in existence.

Some particular examples of the coin demonstrate its incredible value:

  • An NGC-certified MS-66 example was sold in 2016 for $2 million.
  • The Eliasberg specimen graded PCGS MS-66, brought $3.29 million in 2005.
  • The all-time record for the coin was set in 2021 when a PCGS-graded MS-68 example sold for a mind-blowing $4.32 million at auction.

Clearly, with perhaps three dozen survivors known from a paltry original mintage, the 1913-S Barber dime stands out as exceptionally rare and desirable to collectors. It rightfully earns the title of the rarest US dime of the 20th century.

1896-O Barber Dime

Rarity and Details 

The 1896-O Barber dime is considered one of the rarest and most valuable dimes in the world. Around 610,000 specimens were minted at the New Orleans Mint that year, making it a rare specimen and target for coin collectors looking to add a trophy coin to their collections.

There are a few reasons why so few 1896-O dimes were produced:

  • The New Orleans Mint scaled back operations in the mid-1890s due to an economic recession and lack of funding from the federal government.
  • Silver prices declined in the 1890s, discouraging the use of silver in coinage.
  • Technical issues at the New Orleans Mint led to low productivity and output in 1896.

Surviving examples of the 1896-O dime display typical wear for a Barber coin that saw circulation. Most grade in the Very Good, Fine, or Extremely Fine ranges. A small handful certify as Uncirculated, while maybe 3 to 5 coins qualify as Mint State-65 or higher.

Record Sale in 2016

In January 2016, an 1896-O dime graded MS-66 by PCGS sold at auction for an incredible $2.16 million.

According to the auction house Stack’s Bowers Galleries, this transaction set a new record for any dime sold at auction, making the 1896-O dime the most valuable dime in the world.

The coin exhibited superior surfaces and strike detail, certainly placing it among the finest surviving 1896-O specimens known. Its new owner, Laura Sperber of Legend Numismatics, called it a “monster rarity” and one of the greatest ten-cent coins ever produced.

Other Rare Dimes to Know

1955 Doubled Die Obverse Roosevelt Dime

The 1955 Doubled Die Obverse (DDO) Roosevelt dime is one of the most famous and valuable error coins in all of numismatics. This rare dime features a strong doubling of many design elements on the obverse side, most noticeably in the words “In God We Trust” and the date 1955.

According to the Professional Coin Grading Service, only a small amount of these error coins were produced before the doubled die was fixed at the Philadelphia Mint. Today, a 1955 DDO dime in mint state condition can sell for a whopping $15,000 to $30,000!

1973-S Roosevelt Dime

While not as famous as the 1955 DDO dime, the 1973-S proof Roosevelt dime is extremely rare and valuable. The “S” mintmark indicates it was struck at the San Francisco Mint. According to the USA Coin Book, just 2,760,339 proof specimens were made that year.

For reasons unknown, most 1973-S dimes never reached general circulation and sat untouched for decades. Today, an example graded PR69 by PCGS sold in 2018 for over $31,000. That makes the ’73-S one of the rarest modern dimes collectors are searching for.

What Is The Rarest Dime – Conclusion

As we’ve explored, some of the rarest dimes with the highest values are older Barber and Trade pieces from the late 1800s to early 1900s. Key dates to look for are the 1894-S, 1913-S, 1896-O Barber dimes, along with the 1973-S Roosevelt dime.

Other notable rare dimes include doubled die errors like the 1955 series. Coin collecting remains a vibrant hobby and the search continues for elusive rarities like these valuable dimes.

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