of Clad Dimes Spans 45 Years
By Ginger Rapsus
Those who enjoy
collecting coins for the pure enjoyment of
finding elusive pieces, checking items for
quality, and a not-so-big cash outlay may find a
collection of clad dimes to fit the bill.
A collection of clad dimes spans 45 years now,
and can include a few scarce and pricey coins,
such as mint errors. But a basic set can keep a
collector busy and take him back to the time
when collections were built for the sake of
completing a series.
Dimes of the first three clad years – 1965,
1966, and 1967 – had mintages in the billions.
The 1967-dated dime is still the one with the
largest mintage. A collector can check his
change for a long time, even looking through
rolls of dimes, and not come up with
nice-looking Mint State coins.
Quite a few dimes may have the dates poorly
struck. A close study may be needed to discern
the dates on 1968 and 1969 dimes. Some early
clad dimes have letters missing in the motto “E
Pluribus Unum” on the reverse.
The 1969 dime from Philadelphia is not an easy
coin to find in change. Even during the year of
issue, I recall hunting for a long time to find
The 1971-P and 1973-P are also hard to find. It
should be noted here that use of the “P” is to
indicate the mint of origin not as a statement
that a “P” mintmark was used. The “P” mintmark
first appeared on dimes in 1980.
In five months of checking clads in change for
dates and mintmarks, I found only a single
example of the 1973-P dime. The 1971-P had the
lowest mintage of clad dimes made for
circulation, to the tune of 162 million. Not
exactly a rare coin, but they went into
circulation right away to do their job, and
practically none was saved.
The 2009-P and 2009-D now both have mintages
that are lower at 96.5 million and 49.5 million,
If a date and mintmark set of clads isn’t enough
of a challenge, include the varieties struck
with no mintmark, or the rare off-metal pieces.
Some proof clad dimes were struck without the
“S” mintmark. The first was 1968-S, discovered
in June of that year. About half a dozen are
known. The 1970-S proof with no mintmark was
discovered in January 1971. The Mint confirmed
that one die produced 2,200 of these. Only two
specimens are known of the 1975-S dime lacking a
mintmark. The first was discovered in February
1978, and the second, in June 1978. The 1983-S
with no mintmark was discovered in May of that
year, and about 100 are known.
Quite a few 1982-P dimes were made without a
mintmark. The first of these was discovered in
the Sandusky, Ohio, area in January 1983. These
dimes were rather sharply struck, and
approximately 8,000 to 10,000 are known. Some
with a flatter strike were discovered in
Pittsburgh in August 1983, and about 5,000 of
these are known.
One specially mintmarked dime was made in 1996.
The only circulating coin minted at West Point,
the 1996-W, was struck for inclusion only in
mint sets. Only 1,457,000 of these dimes were
made, making this the non-proof clad dime with
the lowest mintage. Many mint sets were broken
up so collectors could acquire this special
dime. No clad collection is complete without
this coin, which currently sells for about $20
in Mint State.
Proof dimes of the clad years were made from
1968 to date, with the “S” mintmark. These coins
can be pretty in the sharply struck, proof
finish. Don’t forget the Special Mint Set coins
of 1965, 1966 and 1967. While not of proof
quality, they are collector’s items in their own
A collection of clad dimes need not stop there.
After finding one of each date and mintmark,
along with proofs and the West Point coin, a few
varieties are known to collectors. Less than
half a dozen 1965 dimes of 90 percent silver are
known, along with a 1964 dime struck in
copper-nickel clad. There may be more in
circulation or in a piggy bank, waiting to be
A few dimes of 1964 made in Special Mint Set
quality are known; if one could be found, this
coin would be a nice complement to a set of SMS
The little Roosevelt dime, not especially loved
by collectors in silver or copper-nickel, makes
a worthwhile collecting pursuit. Such a set can
be challenging and fun, combining the search for
coins in change with a few scarcities and mint
errors. And who knows? Maybe the next scarce
variety or mint error will be yours to discover.