Got any change in your pocket?
Take it out and put it on the table.
Now look at it carefully.
Move aside the shiny new coins. Seriously. For this exercise, shiny and new isn’t much good.
Got any dimes? Got any dimes dated 1964 or earlier? If you do, guess what… You’re holding more than 10 cents in your hand.
In some cases, a lot more.
Here’s the deal: Dimes that were minted in 1964 or before use real silver as their base metal. Dimes minted after that were made with cheaper base metals. As a result, newer coins are sometimes worth even less than the denomination stamped on them.
So while they may look dirty or dusty to you, your old dimes could be extremely valuable.
There are two reasons for that.
REASON NO. 1 — COLLECTORS WANT YOUR DIME
There’s a huge market for vintage dimes — collectors love them. A general rule of thumb is the older the coin, the more valuable it is.
Another factor in determining value is condition. Obviously, the better condition the coin is in, the more it’s worth.
And if you can lay your hands on an uncirculated vintage dime — jackpot. It could be worth thousands. Collectors go to great lengths to obtain coins in the best condition possible.
Now for a little history lesson…
Dimes were first struck in 1796. The “Draped Bust” dimes from the early days are some of the most desirable of American coins. The entire series of that model are scarce.
The “Capped Bust” design — which was struck in 1809 and circulated through 1837 — is a popular issue amongst collectors. But if you can find any Bust dime in good condition, you’ll have something collectors will clamor to get.
Another coveted model is the Seated Liberty design, which was produced from 1837–1891. Some changes to the design as well as the coin’s mass resulted in several variations — some of which are quite rare, such as the 1873 and 1874 Carson City (showing a CC mint mark) dimes.
To see if there’s a mint mark, look on the back of the dime under the wreath. You’re looking for a letter or letters identifying the minting facility in which it was made. New Orleans shows an “O,” Carson City a “CC,” Denver a “D” and “S” is for San Francisco. No mint mark or P = made in Philadelphia.
Once you know what to look for, it’s fairly easy to visit dealers, coin shows, garage sales, estate sales, etc., and be able to identify any valuable dimes. They are often overlooked by the uninitiated.
Here is a chart showing issues, years, conditions and values to help you get an idea of how much different dimes are worth:
REASON NO. 2 — MERCHANTS WANT YOUR DIME (AND OTHER SILVER)
You’ve probably been told that gold is a good thing to hold in times of geopolitical and economic uncertainty. If financial systems become disabled — or, worse, collapse — for a period of time, paper money could become hard to get… or even worthless.
In that instance, you’d need something valuable to trade for goods and services, and gold is generally considered the most desirable thing to have.
But is it?
Actually, silver would also be valuable in those circumstances. The beauty of silver is it’s easier to come by at a much lower cost. And easier to carry around in smaller denominations for purchasing daily essentials in a pinch.
The easiest form of silver to lay your hands on is pre-1965 dimes and quarters. Next would be silver dollars. But this time I’m not talking about ones of value to collectors… Condition isn’t as important here. The relevant factor is if they are real silver — that carries value.
If money were meaningless and you found yourself needing to pay a merchant, silver coins or small bullion bars would likely be acceptable.
It may sound a little out there… but if you look at what’s happening right now in America and in other parts of the world, it’s something to seriously consider.
The U.S. is embroiled in a trade war with China — and we could soon be in a physical war with Iran.
Smart money is acquiring silver in coins or bullion. You should too.
If you’d like to learn how you can acquire silver at the best rates, visit our partners at Hard Assets Alliance.
To your wealth,
Editor-at-large, Unconventional Wealth
Steffi Baker is the editor-at-large of Unconventional Wealth. For the past 10 years, she worked with a small strategy consulting firm that dealt exclusively with wealth-management companies, helping them market themselves to ultra-high-net-worth clients.
Through this line of work, Steffi attended events in London and New York and hobnobbed with household names and international...