Owner's Comments

Mintage: 172,500
Obverse Dies: 2 Known

The 1861 dimes from San Francisco were struck from two Type I obverse dies and a single reverse die. This date is scarce in circulated grades and become very scarce in VF or better. Very rare in Mint State. This is the toughest San Francisco branch mint date in the 1860's to locate.

Plate Coin: Fortin 101, Condition Census Example With Lustrous, Satiny Surfaces, Well Struck With Hints of Delicate Golden-Russet Toning at the Base of the Reverse

Expert Comments

Ron Guth

The 1861-S Dime is much more scarce than the mintage indicates, as is the case with many of the S-Mint issues of this era.  The dearth of collectors on the West coast meant the coins circulated until they wore out or were lost.  Thus, a coin from the San Francisco Mint will have a lower survival rate than the a coin of the same date and similar mintage from the Philadelphia Mint.  Also, few collectors existed in the San Francisco area, thus fewer high-grade coins were preserved.

Mint State 1861-S Dimes are truly rare and they are seldom nice enough to be called choice.  PCGS and NGC have each graded an MS66 example, with very little underlying support.  The strike is decent, in general, though the details became mushy as the dies wore out.  Die clashing is sometimes seen on the left side of the obverse.

Gerry Fortin has identified two different die varieties for this year.  Assuming no more varieties are discovered, this gives an average die life of 86,250 coins.

James Barton Longacre
17.90 millimeters
2.48 grams
90% Silver, 10% Copper
Pop Higher
Pop Lower
The United States of America
Price Guide
PCGS Population
Auctions - PCGS Graded
Auctions - NGC Graded

Rarity and Survival Estimates Learn More

65 or Better 250 R-6.6 4 / 67 TIE 11 / 122 TIE
All Grades 10 R-9.5 6 / 67 13 / 122 TIE
60 or Better 2 R-9.9 6 / 67 TIE 18 / 122 TIE
65 or Better 250
All Grades 10
60 or Better 2
65 or Better R-6.6
All Grades R-9.5
60 or Better R-9.9
65 or Better 4 / 67 TIE
All Grades 6 / 67
60 or Better 6 / 67 TIE
65 or Better 11 / 122 TIE
All Grades 13 / 122 TIE
60 or Better 18 / 122 TIE

Condition Census Learn More

Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 MS66 PCGS grade
2 MS65 PCGS grade
2 MS65 estimated grade

Superior 1/2003:441 - Eugene H. Gardner Collection - Heritage 6/2014:30260, $49,937.50

4 MS64 PCGS grade
5 MS63 PCGS grade
#1 MS66 PCGS grade
#2 MS65 PCGS grade
#2 MS65 estimated grade

Superior 1/2003:441 - Eugene H. Gardner Collection - Heritage 6/2014:30260, $49,937.50

#4 MS64 PCGS grade
#5 MS63 PCGS grade