The Roosevelt dime is so named because it bears the image of President Franklin D. Roosevelt on one side. And as the coin has been produced since 1946, there are plenty of them around!
But not all Roosevelt dimes are the same. And some of them can be worth a lot more than their face value.
So which ones are worth looking out for? And just what is it that makes them so interesting to coin collectors?
That’s what we’re going to find out! Read on, as we look at the 15 most valuable Roosevelt dimes in existence …
Most Valuable Roosevelt Dimes
The most valuable Roosevelt dime ever to be sold was minted in 1975. It lacks the “S” mintmark, identifying it as being minted in San Francisco. And it’s one of only two such coins known to exist.
It was first identified by a collector who bought five sets of proof coins in 1975. She noticed that in two of the sets, the dime didn’t have the “S” mark.
Intrigued, she sent one of the coins to the magazine Coin World for them to review. And she later sent both to the ANACS, an organisation that authenticated coins. When ANACS certified one of them in 1978, collectors began to hunt for more examples.
With almost 3 million proof sets produced in 1975, it seemed only a matter of time before more no-S dimes were found. But amazingly, that isn’t what happened. Those two original coins remain the only ones ever discovered.
With collectors’ interest piqued, the original purchaser sold both proof sets onto a renowned dealer, Fred Vollmer. Vollmer quickly found a buyer willing to pay $38,550 for the set containing this coin.
The no-S dime from the set later went to the PCGS – the Professional Coin Grading Service. They graded it PR68, meaning it had only a few, barely visible imperfections.
In 2011, it was sold again, fetching the princely sum of $349,600. And eight years later, it was offered for sale once more.When the hammer fell, the price – including a 20 per cent buyers’ premium – was $456,000.
That might sound like a lot. But the canny buyers, Mitch and Justin Spivack, clearly thought there was still a profit to be made. Just a few months later, they successfully resold the coin through an agent for an eyewatering $516,000.
Remember that original collector who spotted the missing “S” on her proof dime? Then you’ll remember that the S was missing from the dimes in two of her sets of coins.
That second original proof set was sold by Fred Vollmer too. It didn’t fetch as much as the first – $18,200. But the Ohio collector who bought it later said that Vollmer had told him he’d received another offer just minutes after agreeing the sale.
Perhaps realising that he’s got something very special, that mystery collector has held onto his set ever since. During that time, the no-S dime has also been graded by the PCGS, and ranked PR66.
So the condition isn’t quite as good as the dime bought by the Spivacks – but it’s not far off. And if it were sold at auction today, we’re certain it would make well into six figures.
It wasn’t only in 1975 that things went wrong with the mintmark on some Roosevelt dimes. It first happened in 1968. And again, it was coins minted in San Francisco that were missing their Ss.
Today, there are estimated to be only around 12 such coins from 1968 in existence. And examples in the best condition are even more scarce.
That means there’s strong demand from collectors. So when a coin grade PR68 by the PCGS came up for auction in May 2015, competition was fierce.
13 different bidders slugged it out before the winner triumphed with a bid of $29,375. Including the buyer’s premium, they paid $31,300 to add it to their collection.
In 1983, the missing mintmark struck again. And it was once again the San Francisco mint that was affected.
The quality of this example is what saw it achieve its high price at auction. It was a proof, made for collectors rather than for circulation. And it was in the best possible condition, graded PR70 Deep Cameo by the PCGS.
Deep Cameo coins have a particularly intense frosted finish on the raised parts. That contrasts with a highly polished ground. Deep cameos are only seen in the first few coins in a production run.
This example was sold in February 2016. 11 bidders battled it out, but only two remained in the competition beyond $10,000. The determined pair eventually took the price to $20,490.
Immediately you look at this coin, you can see there’s something wrong. It’s brown instead of silver. And four arcs of metal are missing from the outside edges.
If this were the result of wear and tear, the coin would be virtually worthless – but it isn’t. Instead, it’s what happened when a planchet – the metal disc used for a coin – was too big for the design.
Usually, a collar would prevent this from happening. The planchet simply couldn’t fit inside, so couldn’t be struck. But this coin was struck “out of collar”.
Mint errors of this kind rare and very collectible. This coin came to the market in 2009 and fetched $14,375.
This Roosevelt dime fetched a high price because of its formidable condition. It was graded MS68 by the PCGS, making it the finest example from 1949 ever seen by the independent organization.
The “FB” in the certification refers to the two bands on the torch depicted on the reverse of the coin. “FB” stands for “full band” and indicates that all the detail is present on both bands. This level of detail is quite rare.
The obverse – the side with Roosevelt’s portrait – featured iridescence. And the reverse had a slight olive patina.
As a coin in a class of its own, it got bidders very excited. When the hammer fell at the August 2018 auction, the price was $13,200.
This Roosevelt dime from 1956 is another that achieved a high auction price on the basis of its condition.
It was rated mint state 68 by the PCGS, making it the best example from that year they’d ever seen. And it too achieved the “FB” designation, meaning all the detail on the torch bands was present.
The obverse of the coin had iridescent bands of violet, blue, green and gold. And the reverse was in brilliant condition, with just some blue toning at the edges.
Again, the lure of owning a best-in-class coin meant that collectors were prepared to spend big bucks. The auction took place in December 2013, and the coin achieved a price of just under $10,000.
At first glance, this 1955 coin looks very similar to its 1968 cousin. It has the same mint state 68 designation from the PCGS. And it even has similar iridescence on the obverse, with copper, magenta and blue tones above Roosevelt’s portrait and extending down his face.
This example, though, didn’t have quite as much detail. The two bands of the torch shown on the reverse side weren’t absolutely complete.
Nevertheless, it was the best graded example of a 1955 Roosevelt dime. And that meant it netted a cool $9,300 when it came up for auction in September 2020.
This group of about 32 1998 Roosevelt dimes were bonded together as a result of a problem at the mint. The blanks were fed into the machine but not ejected. As a result, they were molded together into a single stack.
It’s extremely rare for something like this to happen. And on the few occasions when it does, the stacks are usually much smaller. All that meant this example was very exciting to coin collectors.
It came up for auction in August 2011, and sold for $9,200.
This 1950 dime wasn’t quite one of a kind. But it was one of three minted that year graded MS68 by the PCGS. And all three had the “FB” designation.
If you wanted to get your hands on a 1950 Roosevelt dime, then, this was top notch. Both sides of the coin were cleanly struck. The obverse had cinnamon-colored sprinkles towards the edge, while the reverse had a broad swathe of orange red.
It was sold at a specialist auction in April 2014. The winning bidder paid $8,813 – including a 17.5 per cent buyer’s premium – to secure it.
From 1965 onwards, Roosevelt dimes stopped being made of silver and were made of clad metal instead. But this is a rare exception – a 1965 coin made of silver.
The 1964 silver dimes and 1965 clad versions were struck at the same time. And at this mint, it seems a silver planchet was mistakenly used for a 1965 dime. (There were no mintmarks for the 1965 coins, so there’s no way of knowing which location was responsible.)
This error resulted in a very unusual coin. When it came to auction in January 2006, it sold for $8,625.
This Roosevelt dime is the best 1947 example ever found by the PCGS. They rated it mint state 68. And it’s certified “FB”, so both bands on the torch on the reverse are perfectly detailed.
Best-in-class coins are highly sought after by collectors, who often seek examples of their favored coin from each year. For them, owning the best possible specimen is the ultimate aim.
That’s why, when this coin came up for sale in August 2012, it attracted lots of interest. The winning bid, including buyer’s premium, was $6,170.
Another mint error in 1970 resulted in a coin that was a little out of the ordinary. 1970 saw the production of another proof coin lacking its mint mark. And once more it was the San Francisco mint that lost its “S”.
Although the error here is the same as for the 1968 coins, there are considerably more examples of no-S proofs dating from 1970.
Over 2,000 were minted. And because these were proofs – better quality coins targeted at collectors – many of them have been well cared for. As a result, they don’t carry the same premium for scarcity.
The best quality PR69 examples routinely fetch between $800 and $1,000. And the auction record was set in 2003, when a PR69 proof fetched $1,610.
In 1982 and 1983, no mint set Roosevelt dimes were produced. There aren’t so many collectors of clad coins like this one. But for those that exist, this means there are no sets around to fill gaps in the years. And that means that when a good quality coin appears, it can attract a lot of interest.
So it was with this mint standard Roosevelt dime, minted in Denver in 1982. It was in excellent condition, rated MS67 by the PCGS. That made it the best example known to any of the major independent coin grading services. And the designation “FB” meant it had full bands.
It came up for auction in 2014 and made $1,410 – a record for a coin from this year.
This dime isn’t in the same league of collectability as others on our list. But it’s still worth considerably more than its face value.
Like the no-S 1975 dimes, it’s missing its mintmark. In this case, the “P” indicating it was minted in Philadelphia, is missing.
This example came up for sale recently. It was graded MS65, meaning it was in mint state with a good, firm strike and high-quality luster. There were just a few small, scattered contact marks on the surface.
It fetched a not-to-be-sneezed-at $265.
Not Your Average Dime
We hope you’ve enjoyed our look at 25 of the most valuable Roosevelt dimes ever minted. Excellent condition or rare mint errors are usually the reasons some coins are so valuable.
So if you have some old dimes in the back of a drawer, now might be the time to check them! If you’re lucky enough to have an unusual specimen, you could be in the money.