By being a relatively quiet area of the market, many dimes are great values. This is especially true of Seated Liberty dimes. That said, the 1860-O dime is relatively expensive, but it is safe to suggest that it is worth every nickel of its current price.
In 1860, New Orleans was still a rough port city. It was not a place where people routinely had major coin collections. Dates from New Orleans are either scarce or simply not available in upper grades in any numbers. Moreover, it was clear by then that the United States was very possibly on the brink of a civil war, which would have made anyone uneasy, let alone coin collectors.
New Orleans was capable of significant mintages, although it could also produce low ones. For example, in 1842 it had produced over 2 million dimes but sometimes it produced none. In 1860 it produced just 40,000 dimes, which was the lowest total for any year New Orleans made dimes.
Being a busy port city, a coin that left New Orleans on a boat – and there were many of them – could have ended up anywhere, which meant it was lost to collectors forever. What we know is that even in just G-4 the 1860-O today lists for $450. Compared to other similar era dimes, you can get an idea how poor chances were for survival of a New
Orleans dime. The 1864 from Philadelphia had a mintage of just 11,470, yet it is priced just $25 less than the 1860-O in G-4.
To determine just how tough the 1860-O is in upper grades, a check of Professional Coin Grading Service shows 37 examples of the 1860-O have been graded and only three reached AU while a single coin graded MS-64. No others were Mint State. At Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, the number of 1860-O dimes graded is 24. Just two – the Eliasberg MS-64 and one other in a remarkable MS-67 – were graded Mint State.
The 1860-O Seated Liberty dime is not only as tough as its mintage suggests; it’s probably tougher. The following year saw the facility closed when it fell into Confederate hands during the Civil War, making it the last New Orleans dime until 1891.