The 1942 over 1 Dime is one of the most popular and recognizable of all U.S. coin varieties, and for decades, dealers and collectors have touted it as a great, valuable variety. The truth is that it is not rare at all, not even scarce, and can be called common based on the high number of pieces in the PCGS Population Report. However, this statement only holds true for circulated examples because, in Mint State, the 1942/1 Dime is the rarest of all the Mint State Mercury Head Dimes, easily beating out other recognized rarities such as the 1916-D, 1921, 1921-D and 1942/1-D. According to the December 2011 Population Report, PCGS has certified 95 Mint State 1942/1 Dimes, split almost down the middle between non-Full Bands and Full Bands (with the non-Full Bands holding a slight edge). The finest examples appear at the MS-66 level, where PCGS has certified 6 non-Full Bands and 3 Full Bands.
Warning - collectors should beware of altered dates. If the date on a potential purchase does not match the image shown above, pass.