Obverse Dies: 3 Known
For 1865 San Francisco coinage, three obverse and reverse dies were used, one of the reverse dies being "left over" from 1861. These die produced five different obverse/reverse pairings.
In general, 1865-S dimes are typically seen with flat heads and a weak mintmark. This observation can be explained by the higher availability of Variety 101. Locating an example of Variety 101 with a full head could take years.
Finding AU or better 1865-S dimes in choice original condition could take years of searching. Most examples seen have been cleaned, though the grading services still certify some examples in this state of preservation.
Plate Coin: Fortin 101, White and Well Struck, Extremely Rare Full Head Example in a Condition Census Grade, Formerly Eliasberg Collection
The 1865-S Dime is a relatively common date in low grade but it is a true condition-rarity above Very Fine and especially in Mint State. The reason for the dearth of Uncirculated examples is unknown, but it is typical for remote mints to have lower populations of high-grade coins. Mint State examples rarely appear on the market and they are always warmly welcomed when they do. The finest example of which we are aware is a single PCGS MS65+.
Seated Liberty Dime expert, Gerry Fortin, has identified five different die combinations for this year, all of which are Rarity 4 or higher.
RARCOA “Auction '86” 7/1986:565 - Lemus Collection - Stack's 10/2005:642 - Eugene H. Gardner Collection - Heritage 10/2014:98267, $41,125