Most dimes are only worth their face value, but some dimes silver dimes produced before 1964 are worth more than that for their silver content. Then there are other dimes, dimes that were never supposed to be that due to their extreme rarity and low survival rate, yeah people put stuff through the mashing machines and on the railroad tracks then too, are worth a substantial amount of money. This is the story on one of those dimes.
It was late in his shift at the Philadelphia mint when he got around to making the dies for next year’s dimes. He was happy to just to have a job. It was late September of 1941, just about everyone was concerned with the possibility of war looming on the horizon. Well that and how crappy the economy was doing. FDR had been promising that things would get better, and they weren’t terrible but they were nothing like they were back in ’28. That seemed to be what all the news was about war and the economy. He sighed, worried about the possibility of war, his own job, the trolley home from work, and umpteen other things he was thinking about. He walked into the vault and grabbed one of the working hubs for the mercury dimes. He headed back out to the shop floor his mind still on other things.
He arranged the working hub in the machine a put a blank die below it. The heat from the freshly annealed die still penetrated through the asbestos glove, but he was used to it. He pressed the hub down into the first die, the hardened steel mashing the warm malleable steel below it like it was a stick of butter. He made sure to press it twice, just to bring out all the details in the coin face and repeated the process again, then stopped to check his work. His heart suddenly accelerated as he realized he had made a terrible mistake. He could get fired if any one found out what he had done. This had to be covered up and quick. He had inadvertently picked up the working hub for 1941 not 1942 as he had intended. These dies were utterly useless, but he couldn’t just throw them away. Oh he knew he was in trouble. What could he do? He stopped to think about it, then an idea came to him. He calmly took the hub out of the machine and returned to the vault exchanging it for a correct hub. He then returned to his station and re-pressed both dies, ensuring they were lined up properly so as not to cause a double image or shift in the alignment of the face of the coin. He then went about pressing the rest of the run of dies and dropped them off with the others at the end of his shift.
This is how it could have happened but we really don’t know for sure. The only thing we do know is that only two dies, one in Philly and the other shipped to Denver were ever used to produce these coins. They were not discovered in circulation for years, 1954 and 1962 respectively, and they are very rare. A regular 1942 dime is worth anywhere from about $2 to $20 depending on condition. A true overdate starts at around $400 and goes way, way up into the stratosphere the finest known selling for over $71,000!!! So, if you ever get a change to go through some silver dimes, take a peek at the 1942s. I personally found one in a box that was going to a smelter to be turned back into silver. Yeah, they also get overlooked from time to time. So be vigilant, there is money out there to be made, and coins to conserve for future generations.