Image courtesy of Stack’s Bowers Galleries
August 07, 2011—According to a recent email that came in, Stack’s Bowers Galleries will be offering one of the two known 1975 No S proof dimes in their ANA World’s Fair of Money Auction. Offered as Lot #7297, it will cross the block on August 18 and is described by the auction firm as: “A fully brilliant and highly reflective specimen with all the eye appeal and surface quality one would expect at the lofty Proof-68 level. One of just two examples thought to exist!
The present coin is one of just a very few rarities listed in A Guide Book of United States Coins that have never been sold at public auction, at least until today. The proof set that contained the coin was first purchased in February 1979 by Fred Vollmer, a coin dealer who specialized in proof coins and sets, and who recognized a great opportunity when he saw one. In 1980 the six-piece set was sold to a savvy collector and held until today; this coin has been out of the numismatic marketplace for 31 years!
Despite publicity and collector attention since the 1979 discovery, just one other example of this great rarity has ever surfaced. Considering the attention paid to modern issues in recent decades, it is nothing short of amazing that no more than two pieces can be accounted for. The San Francisco Mint produced 2,845,450 proof sets in 1975; the two known specimens of the No S dime make up an infinitesimal percentage of that production run. The dies for proof coins were manufactured in Philadelphia during the era, the production of which included the addition of mintmarks, and then sent to the various branch mints. Evidently one obverse die was shipped to San Francisco without a mintmark. Though San Francisco Mint officials have been uniformly tight-lipped regarding the release of the several “S-less” varieties obtained by the public over the years, we can surmise the present error die was found soon after it went into production and all the pieces on hand from the die destroyed–except for two!