A Gem Proof of extraordinary eye appeal, a coin with deeply mirrored surfaces that proclaim full mint brilliance. The devices exhibit faint frost in a bright light source, especially at the peripheral legends. A well-recognized rarity that will no doubt see heavy bidding activity from advanced Roosevelt dime collectors, NGC Registry participants, and Proof set specialist alike. This coin is normally found in the grade of 67 or less, not in the state of preservation as this NGC Proof 69 example. This is a very high grade and very unusual for this coin.
The 1968 No S dime was the first of the Proof "S-less" varieties to come to light in numismatics. The Philadelphia Mint discontinued striking annual proof sets in 1964, taking a short break, and resuming in 1968 when the sets were first struck in San Francisco. The master dies for the proof coins were sent to the Mint and the mint mark was to be added, however, this did not always happen. While striking these 1968 proof coins, it was observed the S was not added to the die for the dimes being struck. All of the no S dime coins were thought to have been destroyed. However, a few had already been sealed in Proof sets and were not found until much later when one person received two in the mail and reported his findings, not realizing the rarity he was holding. These were the discovery coins and collectors were prompted to search for more with precious few results. Similar no S coins appeared again in 1971 on a nickel, and in 1975 when, again, the dime was affected. The only example of the 1975 No S Proof dime to ever sell brought $349,600 in our 2011 ANA Sale, setting a new high mark for modern error prices at auction. Other no S pieces include the dime from 1983, and the cent from 1990. The rarest by far of these no S coins are the two dimes dated 1968 and 1975.
It has been 44 years since this 1968 no S dimes were struck. As of this writing (May 2012), NGC has certified seven examples of this rarity within all Proof designations, and PCGS has certified an additional 19 pieces within all Proof designations for a combined total of 26 pieces, among which number there are certain to be resubmissions. Walter Breen estimated 6 –12 were known, while others estimate less than 20 exist. Either way, this coin is in a rarity category of many of the great US coins.
Numismatic Reflections by Q. David Bowers
I anticipate a lot of old fashioned fun when this crosses the auction block -- with much activity on the part of those trying to put together the "best" sets in the popular Roosevelt dime series.
NGC Census: 2; none finer within the Proof designation.