100 Greatest U.S. Modern Coins Series: 1975, No S, Roosevelt Dime, Proof

We have introduced and explored just fifteen of the 100 coins that have made up the list of Greatest United States Modern Coins as published by Whitman Publishing in their fourth edition by authors Scott Schechter and Jeff Garrett. Basically, we have only scratched the surface of what this blog series is going to continue to bring.

Of those fifteen though, we have talked about a variety coin that came in at #8: the 1968, No S, Proof Roosevelt Dime. Since that year, all Proof coinage has been struck at the San Francisco Mint and features an “S” mintmark denoting it so. However, what we learned was that Philadelphia produced some of the dies shipped to San Francisco without a mintmark and introduced us all to the No S Proof coins we see today. It happened in 1968 during their first year of production and was repeated in 1970 with the Roosevelt dime. In 1971, however, the mistake was made again except this time, it was with the 1971 Jefferson Proof nickels.

In our next breakdown of the top 100, we look at the top spot on the list. That’s right; we are not making you wait to find this out until the end. Like our already covered #8 spot with the 1968 No S Proof Roosevelt Dime, this coin is yet another variety of the No S Proof coins to come out of San Francisco. However, the coin comes seven years later and with a rarity and value that deems it #1.

#1 - 1975, No S, Roosevelt Dime, Proof

After the mistake of the No S Proof coins continued in 1971 with the Jefferson nickel, there was a lull in the production of mistakes. However, in 1975, it was discovered by one lucky collector who purchased five Proof sets from the United States Mint that year that two of his sets contained Roosevelt dimes that did not have a mintmark. That same collector sent those sets to Coin World for confirmation and to announce that these rare mistakes were made unbeknownst to the rest of the numismatic hobby. Those dimes were also independently certified at the time.

The anonymous collector from California eventually sold both the sets to a dealer out of Bloomington, Illinois, by the name of Fred J. Vollmer. Vollmer sold the first of the sets in 1978 to a collector in Ohio for $18,200. In the following year during a market climb, he offered the second set for $38,550. Since the sale of those two sets and the 1975 No S Proof Roosevelt Dimes, no other of those dimes have been found or at least have not been identified to the public.

When it was all said and done in 1975, a little over 2.8 million Proof sets were sold. In 2011, Stack’s Bowers offered at auction an example of the rare 1975 No S Proof Roosevelt dime. After research done by Coin World and Vollmer’s two examples that were sold in the 1970s, it was found that the coin offered at the auction was the second one he sold. The dime was unveiled at the ANA World’s Fair of Money in August of 2011 and the final price ended up at $349,600. It resulted in the most ever paid for a United States modern coin.