The Number One Dime is an item that is in and of itself of little to no interest or value, but to its owner: it is ridiculously over-important in a purely sentimental way. It might be the token sealing a Childhood Marriage Promise, a Security Blanket, a Memento MacGuffin (particularly an Orphan's Plot Trinket or Fatal Family Photo) or a Companion Cube, but the overlap with MacGuffins at large is fairly minimal.
Hats, Nice or otherwise, are frequent Number One Dimes. Expect The Chew Toy or the Butt-Monkey's precious and rare Gobi Desert Cricket to be frequently threatened. If the character in question is a child (or a child at heart), the Number One Dime will probably be a toy.
In any case, should the item be damaged or lost, it is likely to trigger a Heroic BSoD or a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, which sometimes leads to an Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking moment. If dropped, they will do an Indy Hat Roll to retrieve it. Merely being separated from the item is also likely to make them utterly distraught.
Compare and contrast with Iconic Item, which has the same meaning but is unique rather than generic; and the Artifact of Attraction, which is of interest to many characters. If the item is food, that's either Trademark Favorite Food or (less specifically) Obsessed with Food. If the character falsely believes the item to be the source of a skill or power, it's a Magic Feather.
- DARLING in the FRANXX: Zero Two, who has spent all her life imprisoned and experimented on, describes a picture book she was given as "her first pretty thing."
- One Piece:
- Luffy's straw hat, given to him by his idol Shanks. He is so fond of it that when he gives it to someone for safekeeping, it qualifies as a Heartwarming Moment and a sign that he has had enough of this season's villain. However, after the death of his brother Ace, Luffy has a Heroic BSoD so bad he doesn't notice he dropped his hat. A later chapter even reveals this hat is even more significant than what it looks: it once belonged to Gold Roger, none other than the Pirate King himself, who passed it on to Shanks, one of his cabin boys at the time.
- And Brook with his hair, though his case is more justified than others. His Funny Afro is the only part of him that did not decay before he became a skeleton man. Without it, his friend Laboon wouldn't recognize him, and since Brook is now a skeleton, his hair wouldn't grow back in case it was cut, so he's fiercely protective of his afro.
- Ash's first hat in Pokémon. He won it in a contest (there are only two hundred of them in existence), so it's one of his most valuable possessions. He went ballistic when a wild and mischievous Mankey stole it, making himself look stupid trying to get it back. Mankey then evolved into a Primeape once Team Rocket caused some shenanigans, becoming really aggressive and even harder to corral before Ash finally succeeded in reclaiming his hat and capturing the Primeape.
Even so, Ash kept this hat with him through the rest of Kanto and all of Johto. One would almost think that this finally sunk in when he was heading off to Hoenn; maybe a hat with less sentimental value would be a better choice for someone continually targeted for mecha attacks. Hence, in Hoenn he wears a different hat that his mother gave him. And in Sinnoh he switches to yet another new hat. When this new hat is briefly stolen, Ash's attempts to recover it are less desperate than the time a Mankey stole his original hat, as he simply says it feels weird to not have a hat. note
- In Gate Keepers 21, Ayane Isuzu's bell, which gets some unexplained camera focus every now and then. It doesn't really seem to do anything, and its source is never explained, but it's hinted in the final episode that her father gave it to her.
- In the 14th episode of Tiger & Bunny, a towel that Karina/Blue Rose gets from Kotetsu/Wild Tiger to replace the one he accidentally ruined serves as one of these. It even triggers a Love Epiphany when her room gets ransacked by a thief and she realizes that it's only the towel she's worried about going missing.
- Durarara!!: Ryo Takiguchi, a minor character from the same series, is implied to be this way about his harmonica. This makes the fact that it gets destroyed during his brutal, undeserved beat-down rather heartbreaking.
- K's compensation for fulfilling his clients' wishes in I Wish is to get their most treasured thing. Usually ends up being utterly worthless stuff like a jar full of egoism, greed or a piggybank with barely 5.000 Won in it. Subverted when it turns out said treasured thing could also end up being a person and their life.
- The Trope Namer is Scrooge McDuck's First Dime. Many authors just make it a lucky talisman, but at least Keno Don Rosa, building on the original work by Carl Barks, makes it clear its value is sentimental. It was originally established that the dime is not inherently lucky but that being so important to and belonging for so long to the richest duck in the world who worked hard and fair for his wealth has given it power, hence the implacable Magica de Spell's obsession with getting it to create a talisman that will make her the most powerful witch. Although other characters in Rosa's version of the Disney Ducks Comic Universe have ascribed it the power of being lucky,
Don RosaScrooge sets the record straight in The Richest Duck in the World:Donald: This must be the famous Lucky Dime — the charm Uncle Scrooge used to get his entire fortune!
Scrooge: "Lucky" dime?! What thimble-headed gherkin invented that supreme bit of absolute balderdash?!
Donald: Oh, everybody says it, unk.
Scrooge: Well, everybody is a nincompoop! I had that dime for 20 years before I struck it rich!
- While it was the first coin that Scrooge ever earned, because it was an American coin and Scrooge lived in Scotland at the time, the person that gave it to him was screwing him out of payment. That incident is one of the things that made Scrooge decide to become the richest duck in the world, and he originally kept it to remind himself that there are always people that will try to cheat you. If anything, it started as a symbol of bad luck.
- While the First Dime has sentimental value for Scrooge in Don Rosa's run, it actually has a power of which he is not aware. In Rosa's "Of Ducks, Dimes and Destinies", Magica de Spell revealed that, as the first money ever earned by the richest person in the world, it was a key ingredient in a spell that would grant her the golden touch of King Midas.
- Scrooge's Evil Counterpart, Flintheart Glomgold, has his Number One Rand in answer to Scrooge's Number One Dime, which is slightly weird since South-Africa hasn't been using rands for long enough that Flintheart could have earned one in his youth. Whether he's lying about it to screw with Scrooge, or that someone cheated him out of payment as well is anyone's guess. Another guess is that Glomgold stole the rand from somebody. Don Rosa supports this theory.
- Both Don Rosa and others have portrayed Scrooge putting similar sentimental value to a lot of other coins in his possession, or even all of them. Don Rosa makes the whole Money Bin hold not Scrooge's entire fortune but a memorial selection, but since that's still a lot of usable money, the whole of it is not an example of this trope like the individual ordinary coins are.
- As a Long Runner, Scrooge's stories have had many, many writers. A number of them, particularly in stories not originally written in English, do explicitly count the dime as a Good Luck Charm. At least one story even gives it the power of Anti-Magic.
- Tintin: Captain Haddock almost gets himself killed over his sailor's cap in Prisoners of the Sun: who'd want to live without their Nice Hat?
- For Two-Face of Batman fame, it's a double-headed silver dollar. The Long Halloween explains that he got it as a present from his father when he visited him at his insane asylum on Father's Day. He uses it to avoid the stress of making difficult decisions and to absolve himself of the guilt for his actions which does allows him to make tough calls more quickly if somewhat unpredictably.
- For extra angst, one story relates how Harvey Dent's father would religiously flip a coin: heads, he would beat him; tails, he let it be. The coin was double-headed.
- Both of these are fairly recent retcons. Originally, Two-Face's double-headed coin was a symbol used by a mob boss that Harvey Dent finally managed to prosecute, using one of his coins as a key piece of evidence. When Dent refused to be be bribed or scared off, the crime lord had one of his goons throw acid in Dent's face, creating Two-Face, who subsequently scarred up one side of the coin to better tie it to himself as a symbol of what he had become.
- Another issue has Two-Face using a replica because Batman kept the original after sending him back to Arkham. He wanted something to remember Harvey by.
- In The Precious Book Harry attached great importance to a copy of Alice in Wonderland given to him by a kindly bookseller, to the point where he had a breakdown when a mind-controlled Ron Weasley burned it and did little but sob "Murderer" for several weeks thereafter.
- A Growing Affection has Naruto's birthday kunai. And while they are weapons (and are used as such at one point), they are cheap, mass-produced version that are designed to be regularly lost or broken on a mission, and recycled rather than maintained. He keeps them in a special case and replaced the normal white cotton hand wraps with silk. They were birthday gifts from Hinata and Sakura while he was training with Jiraiya; they are two of the first birthday gifts he ever got, and also a reminder that even though they were apart, his friends were still thinking of him.
- In The Count of Monte Cristo, an ordinary chess piece is of extraordinary value to Edmond and Fernand.
- (Captain) Jack Sparrow's in Pirates of the Caribbean has multiple Number One Dimes throughout the films:
- First of all, his hat. When he does leave it behind, it's a big deal, eliciting a collective gasp when he tells the crew to "leave it!" and get to safety instead.
- In the first film, he treats his flintlock pistol the same way - it only carries one shot, and he has no extra shots or powder. He was marooned with it ten years ago and others note that the only person he'll use it on is the one that marooned him. While he threatens others with it, it's clear that he won't actually fire it until the proper time.
- Later, he treats his MacGuffin-y jar of dirt much the same way.
- The whole plot of Pee-wee's Big Adventure is about Pee Wee looking for his bike, which becomes more valuable in a legal sense when his obnoxious neighbor steals it (only because Pee Wee files a police report and it technically becomes "stolen property"; aside from that, it's just a goofy bike with some doodads and gizmos), but to most people it's just an ugly eyesore. Either way, Pee Wee cannot even sleep comfortably while his precious bike remains missing.
- Butch's watch in Pulp Fiction, which belonged to his father who died in Vietnam. We see just how important it is to him when he finds out that it was left behind as he's on the run from his boss' hit men, and decides to risk his life by going back to his apartment to retrieve it.
- Referenced by the villain of Air Force One: "When you talk to the President, you might remind him that I am holding his wife, his daughter, his chief of staff, his national security advisor, his classified papers - and his baseball glove!"
- Indy's iconic hat, resulting in the Indy Hat Roll.
- In the Popeye film adaptation, one of Bluto's motivations for villainy (other than "I'm mean, if you know what I mean") is getting his hands on Poopdeck Pappy's treasure. When the treasure is finally revealed, it turns out to be things like pictures of Popeye (Pappy's son) as an "infink", Popeye's baby rattle, his baby booties, and other sentimental memento's of Popeye's childhood.
- Jim's compass, in Muppet Treasure Island, is all he has of the father he can barely remember. He has a near panic attack when Long John pretends like he's going to drop it overboard. Near the end of the film, John proves his affection for the boy by returning it before making his escape.
- In X-Men, Wolverine's dog-tags. They're about the only link to his past that he has to go on (and even then they have no real useful information, considering they bear his nickname rather than his real name), and when Sabretooth takes them as a trophy, he makes a point of retrieving them at the climax. His giving them to Rogue at the end of the film is taken as an assurance that he's coming back. His throwing them away at the end of X2: X-Men United shows how he's decided to leave his past where it lays and move on to the future.
- Mario in The Wages of Fear is very fond of a ticket stub from the Paris subway, that he has framed on his wall and later takes along on his dangerous journey. It encapsulates the memory of a happier time in his life.
- In the film adaptation of Largo Winch, multimillionaire Nerio Winch recounts to Largo why his switchblade is his most prized possession: It's the first thing he bought with his own money and how he finally stood up to his abusive father.
- In Guardians of the Galaxy, Peter Quill faces the guards of the Kiln to retrieve his walkman and "Awesome Mix" cassette, one of his last mementoes of his late mother. Drax calls him "an imbecile" for risking his life for them.
Peter: You shouldn't have killed my mom and squished my walkman.
- In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the Big Bad destroys the walkman. This gets brought up as one of two reasons for Peter kicking his ass.
- In Richie Rich, Big Bad Lawrence Van Dough forces the Riches to open the family vault, where he expects to find the family fortune. Instead, it contains keepsakes precious to them but not particularly valuable to anyone else — not being idiots, they have their material wealth invested in bank accounts, stocks, real estate, etc.
- The 'lucky ring' Amber gives Kevin in What's the Worst That Could Happen?. The ring is inherently worthless, but once Max steals it from him, Kevin will go to any length to steal it back, and Max will go to lengths to keep it, even when it ends up costing him a fortune.
- Discworld: Rincewind goes completely berserk when the Librarian threatens his wizard's hat, attacking the Librarian, who's a 300-pound orangutan. The reason it qualifies for this trope? Rincewind's a failed wizard, and his hat says "Wizzard".
- Dagny Taggart of Atlas Shrugged has two — a bracelet from her eventual lover Hank Rearden ("the first thing ever made of Rearden Metal"), making her analogous to Magica de Spell; and the first coin she ever earned working in the capitalist utopia Atlantis, making her analogous to Scrooge McDuck. The similarities between the novel and the Trope Namer hardly stop there.
- Instead of spending the sixpence Donald Carmichael gives her in A Little Princess, Sara keeps it to remind herself that, in spite of all the cruelty she's endured, there are still kind people in the world. The film version starring Amelia Thankley adds some Ship Tease to her keeping the coin, as well ("I shall always wear it to remember you by.").
- Valjean's silver candlesticks in Les Misérables. Of the few personal belongings that he keeps, he treats these candlesticks with particular veneration, as they represent the act of kindness that spurred his HeelFace Turn.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Kendra's lucky stake, "Mr. Pointy". Though the stake itself is lost for good, Buffy borrows her nickname for it.
- In Friends, there's Joey's "bedtime penguin pal", Hugsy.
- In Lost, Kate robs a bank to retrieve the toy plane she buried with her childhood sweetheart, who had accidentally died because of her. The plane was being kept in the bank as bait by a US Marshal who was aware that this particular trope was in play, but Kate pulled off the robbery and made her getaway before he could make his move.
- A non-comedy example is Captain Sisko's baseball from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. When he leaves it on the station after abandoning it to the Dominion, Gul Dukat takes it as a message that says "I'll be back". In a later episode, when Sisko leaves the station and takes the baseball with him, his second in command Colonel Kira takes it as a sign that he might not ever be coming back, which ascribes its remaining in the finale (while he ascended to full Emissary) a great meaning. (And yes, in the Expanded Universe, he came back).
- Sam's lucky bottle cap in Cheers. The bottle cap represented something significant in his life: it was off the last bottle of "anything" he drank in his life and it stops him from drinking. At the end of the episode where it is lost, he opens a bottle of beer, pours it into a beer mug and stares at it. Finally Sam touches the mug ready to pick it up, but instead does his bar slide trick perfectly. He then pockets his new lucky bottle cap.
- In Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Vice Principal Kraft had saved up for years to buy his very own bar of gold. Sabrina, who is volunteering for a rummage sale but is too attached to her own possessions to give up, unwittingly puts some of her aunt's magical ones for sale. Kraft buys a safe box for his bar of gold and finds out that it can duplicate the gold bar. He quickly sets to work creating more gold bars, first dozens and then hundreds. When Sabrina asks him which is the original bar that he worked so hard for so long to own, he is unable to answer, as it's in the room with all the other bars that he made with the duplicator box. Sabrina, to avoid suspicion that she's a witch, claims she's an alien and orders Mr. Kraft to return the box, and donate all the duplicated gold to the rummage sale's cause.
- Although Lola from Agents Of Shield can fly, the real reason that Coulson loves his '62 Corvette so much is because most of his memories of his father (Who died when he was nine) concern rebuilding that car with him. He may have added some extra features after joining SHIELD, but the important thing to Coulson is that it's still his father's car.
- In Breaking Bad, Walt's old boss Bogdan Wolynetz has the first dollar he made in the car-wash business framed on the wall. When Walt buys the business from him in a shady deal, Bogdan takes a moment to needle him by pointing out a few flaws in the property and then reminding him that the sale is "as-is." When Bogdan finally regretfully hands over the keys and makes as if to take his prized dollar with him before he goes, Walt reminds him that the sale is "as-is" and insists on keeping it. Walt then breaks the case open and uses the dollar to buy a soda.
- Person of Interest. Harold Finch has an Oh, Crap! moment when Nathan Ingram's nephew finds the champagne cork from the bottle they used to celebrate the Machine going on line.
- Relic Hunter: In "Diamond in the Rough", Sydney is hired to find the lucky baseball glove of 'Smiling' Jimmy Jonesboro, which was stolen during the 1946 World Series. Essentially worthless (Jonesboro bought it for one dollar at a garage sale), he was willing to pay $5000 to get it back in 1946. In the present day, a current major league player is willing to pay a seven figure sum to locate it, in the hope it will give him the same mojo Jonesboro had.
- New Tricks: Ted Case's lucky charm is a cigarette case that stopped a bullet. Although he tries to act calm, he goes into a panic when he loses it in the episode "Life Expectancy".
- Self's "Marathon Shirt", where the narrator is overly attached to a t-shirt he's owned since he was twelve. This comes to the point of referring to the shirt with female pronouns and saying that the shirt wears him instead of the other way around.
- Don't you step on my blue suede shoes
- Linus' security blanket in Peanuts.
- You can give them piles of magic weapons, books of amazing spells, but a great many players attach great personal significance to that first longsword (or whatever) they bought at chargen.
- Vampire: The Masquerade has this as one of the "faults" a player can give their character... while the character is in possession of their item they get certain bonuses, but if they ever lose contact with it then they get harsh stat losses. The player is then compelled to get the item back, even if doing so greatly conflicts with the current adventure.
- Dwarves in Dwarf Fortress can get attached to any weapon they have used for a long time, no matter its material or quality. This can get Fun when they get attached to their wooden training weapons.
- Lynne from Ghost Trick always wears a fake police badge on her chest because a certain detective gave it to her when she was younger, and she pursued her dream to become one ever since.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask you receive the Keaton Mask from the Curiosity Shop owner, admitting the mask is worth very little but was symbolic to his relationship with Kafei.
- Mass Effect:
- Wrex's old family armor. Wrex himself calls it a "piece of crap" and makes it clear he only cares about it because he promised his grandfather (the one relative he respected) that he'd get it back from the thief who stole it. Retrieving the armor secures Wrex's loyalty.
- Zaeed's old Avenger rifle, Jesse, which never jammed or misfired for over a decade of use until one day it simply gave out and couldn't be repaired. He still has it, and attaches an almost ludicrous value to the useless gun. (At one point in Mass Effect 3: Citadel, Samara hears him talking about Jesse and mistakes "her" for his wife.) During the third game, however, he buys a kit to rebuild the gun so he can use it for his greatest, and probably final, battle.
- The Sims 2 Open For Business allows a sim starting a new business to frame the first simoleon they earn.
- Tales from the Borderlands: Fiona is given a single bullet for her gun at the beginning of her story. In Episode 3 she's given an entire box of bullets, and, if she kept it, that one bullet ceases to be an ace-in-the-hole and becomes a sentimental token reminder that anyone can betray her.
- Rean from The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III has a display of Crow's 50 mira alongside his photos of his family and friends in his desk at his room.
- Mr. X from Resident Evil 2 is wearing a wide-brimmed hat for some reason. Shooting it off nets an achievement... and makes Mr. X pick up the pace in chasing you.
- Tower of God: Anak's stone pendant that she left with her mother when they parted. When she meets her mother's murderer, she gets to see it again.
- Girl Genius Jägers appear to have this relation with their Nice Hats. It counts as a Heartwarming Moment when one of them gives their hat away. And a Funny Moment when some of them get together and made a ridiculously huge, flame-spewing metal hat for someone they respect a lot.
- In MegaTokyo, Piro is assaulted when an image of Erika is accidentally ripped.
- In the Narbonic special, A Brief Moment of Culture, Mell is revealed to particularly cherish a certain newspaper clipping. Head Pet Artie proceeds to use this information to trigger a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
- Similarly to the Girl Genius example above, Lothar from Exterminatus Now will go utterly friggin' berserk if you touch his Nice Hat.
- Mildly subverted in Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures: He would prefer if you didn't destroy his robe... but only because the one who gave it to him is a very sadistic little ferret.
- Penny Arcade features an occasional running gag involving Gabe and Tych repeatedly killing each other over a Pac-Man watch.
- SpongeBob SquarePants:
Spongebob: That's a dime?
- Mr. Krabs also has a First Dime. When he finds it missing, he accuses Squidward of stealing it, causing him to quit. Later, Krabs finds it in his back pocket - and it's a huge stone wheel.
Mr. Krabs: I've been in business a long time, boy.
- In another episode, SpongeBob accidentally gets paint on Krabs' First Dollar earned, which he has framed and hanging on his home.
- And in another, Krabs' millionth dollar is swallowed by a giant clam (parodying Jaws), to whom Krabs trades most of his body to get it back.
Spongebob: What'd you give him?Krabs: (hops on deck, revealing that only one arm, half his torso, and his head are left) Nothing important!
- The Simpsons did it too, in the form of Mr. Burns's old teddy bear, Bobo.
- Which was a parody of Citizen Kane's Rosebud.
- DuckTales (1987), of course, has the Trope Namer dime as described above in the Comic Books section. In the cartoon it's given more of a vaguely mystical nature, since on the occasions when it does go missing, Scrooge's fortune starts to fall apart.
- The opening theme animation of DuckTales (2017) shows the McDuck clan chasing the dime through the credits. The third episode has Louie accompany Scrooge to his office and, mistaking the dime for an emergency one kept by the soda machine in case someone doesn't have enough change, he uses it to buy a drink and must get it back before Scrooge finds out. Then it turns out the dime in the case was a decoy - Scrooge wears the real dime on chain around his neck at all times, and at one point explains that being paid with an American coin is what inspired him to move to America to seek his fortune. In the reboot it's depicted as a Mercury Dime explaining it's larger size. Then we find out that Magica de Spell is imprisoned within Scrooge's dime, and has been for fifteen years prior to the beginning of the series. Scrooge himself was briefly trapped in the dime when Magica escaped, and was able to get out after Dewey apologized for blaming him for Della's disappearance.
- Subverted with Louie himself, who is given the decoy dime as a reward by Scrooge, and announces that he intends to keep it, maybe even get it its own velvet pillow. He then absently spends it on a soft drink again.
- Tangled: The Series: Eugene/Flynn carries a small hair comb, which he claims is the first thing he ever stole. He even went so far as to have it personalized with his alias's name.