US Coins

Dime Mint mark policy changes

Readers Ask column from May 23, 2016, issue of Coin World:

All these dimes have no Mint marks. I was wondering what they are worth. I did some research about the 1968 No S dime. I have a lot of dimes with no Mint marks. 

Daniel Locker / Via Email

The reader’s question about post-1965 Roosevelt dimes without a Mint mark is a fairly common one. From 1968 to 1983, the U.S. Mint’s San Francisco facility struck four different Proof dime die varieties that lack an S Mint mark (1968, 1970, 1975, and 1983). All bring a premium, with the only Proof 1975-S Roosevelt, No S dime to sell at auction bringing $349,600 in August 2011.

Of those four dates, the first three were struck during a period in which hundreds of millions of circulation dimes were struck at the Philadelphia Mint without a Mint mark each year, with the only distinguishing characteristics between the common coins and the rare ones being the finishes used. All of the reader’s dimes, dated 1965, 1968, 1973, and 1977, are circulation strikes worth their face value of 10 cents each. 

Connect with Coin World:  

The 1965 dime was struck during a period in which no coins dated 1965, 1966 or 1967 had a Mint mark. The nation was in the midst of a coinage shortage and a shift in composition from silver to copper-nickel clad; Mint marks were left off to discourage collectors from hoarding the coins. The D and S Mint marks returned to use in 1968.

The lack of an S Mint mark for the Proof 1968, 1970, and 1975 dimes can be explained by the fact that the P Mint mark was not being used. (Coins struck at the Philadelphia Mint remained without a Mint mark until 1979 when the Anthony dollar was introduced; the P Mint mark was added to the remaining denominations, except the Lincoln cent, in 1980.)

The rare Proof die varieties were struck on dies created at and intended for circulation production use at the Philadelphia Mint, but which were sent to the San Francisco facility, where, bearing Proof surfaces, they were used for Proof strikes. The 1983 No S dime, even though it was produced after adoption of the P Mint mark, was struck on a die that had not been given a Mint mark of any kind (at the time, Mint marks were punched into individual working dies). 

Community Comments