The US Mint began striking dimes in 1946 right after World War II ended. Ever since then, the country’s 32nd President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, has graced the ten-cent piece. And thanks to near-constant production, President Roosevelt’s dime became one of the most-circulated coins in American history. And yet, one dime just sold on eBay for $119 after fifteen competitive bids.
So how could an American dime end up selling for over 100,000% of its value? As far as mint stamps go, nothing about this dime looks strange. The dime features a “D” above its date (1972), which stands for its mint location, Denver. Nothing strange about that. No misspellings, either. To the naked eye, it’s just a dime; except for that strange smudge in the top right corner. (Check out the dime, HERE).
Deformities mean big bucks for dime collectors
Collectors call that “smudge” a cud error. It looks like damage to the coin at first glance. Some say it looks like a die break on the coin. What it really looks like is a hat sitting on the head of President Roosevelt. Regardless, the error means value to coin collectors, who covet anything out of the ordinary to add to their collections.
“Cuds can assume a wide variety of shapes including ovoid, crescentic, and irregular,” one coin glossary website noted.
Another small factor playing into the coin’s value is circulation. These 1972 “D” Roosevelt dimes don’t pop up very often anymore. Owning one now, without the cud error, might still net you $2 or so — not big money, but more than a dime is worth. Some of these specific dimes also sport other rare errors, like misaligned die coins and off-center printings.
If you think you own a rare coin, it pays to get it checked out by a professional. If you want to own a rare coin, it doubly pays to consult a professional, because many fakes exist online. You certainly don’t want to buy the $2 dime for $119 just because you read about low circulations one time. Make sure to do your due diligence, or ask for help. Good online sellers will get their coins certified before listing them.
How to research your coin’s worth
As with any collectible hobby, it’s difficult to know what has value without diving headfirst into the hobby, itself. But since coin collectors value rarities and deformities, it wouldn’t hurt to give your pocket change a glance to check for cud errors or the like.
Pennies, nickels, quarters, and half dollars all have their own histories and rarities among them. Some coins, especially prototypes from the mint in circulation, sell for thousands of dollars. Oftentimes, these super valuable coins float around the economy for decades before getting noticed. Who knows how many people received one, or gave one away as part of a purchase in the coin’s lifetime.
Again, it’s best to consult a professional if you think you own a rare or low-minted coin. But if you want to do a little personal research, simply check on eBay. To do so, search the full name, select the “sold” listing and then toggle the search to “highest value.”