This week, we look at one of my favorite modern coins: the 1996-W Roosevelt Dime. It’s a true modern key date as they were only released in 1996 Mint Sets. Aside from special collector Silver, Proof (and Reverse Proof) Roosevelts, it is the lowest mintage Roosevelt Dime – by a significant margin. That year, the West Point Mint only put out about 1.5 million coins. That sound like a lot of dimes until you consider that Philadelphia and Denver each minted 1.4 billion Roosevelt Dimes the same year. Each. The next lowest mintage of any Roosevelt Dime produced for circulation is the well-known 1949-S. In 1949, San Francisco produced only 13.5 millions dimes, the lowest output up to that time.
Needless to say, a mintage of 1,457,000 coins makes the 1996 West Point Roosevelt Dime a special coin. It’s not exactly rare, but there are and forever will be quite a few dime collectors. It’s a coin to have.
For the purpose of this study, we focused in on Mint State 67, 67 Full Torch/Full Band and Mint State 68, and MS68 FT/FB coins. There are just not a lot of 69s out there, so you’ll have to pay what is demanded to get one. In grades of 66 and lower, the coins are inexpensive – too inexpensive to really matter. Often, ‘6s sell for the same money as ‘7s. (So obviously, be patient and get the right ‘7.) The data is very noisy below MS-67.
Price Guides estimates from the two major TPGs are inflated across the board. NGC is much more inflated than PCGS (not surprising). However, in some grades, NGC coins sold for the higher average price.
Let’s look at the data:
In PCGS Mint State 67, the last ten coins to sell (going back through the middle of last year) sold for almost $25 – just under. NGC coins sold for just over $24. Really, it’s a wash.
However, PCGS Price Guide shows a value for Mint State 67 coins at $47. Indeed, they purport Mint State 66 coins to be worth $28, which is a bit under what you’d expect for a Price Guide valuation for Mint State 67 coins. Whacky.
But NGC claims their Mint State 67 coins are worth close to $60, which is nutty. That’s over twice as much as they’re actually selling for!
When we look at 67s in Full Torch or Full Band, it’s a little different story. PCGS coins sold for an average of $43, and NGC coins sold for an average of $32. So in that grade, PCGS coins seem much more valuable. Almost more valuable enough to justify a crossover for a dealer. Almost.
PCGS Price Guide says MS67FB coins should be worth $55, which is exactly in line with what you’d expect from a price guide. NGC claims $70, which is, again, twice what they’re really selling for. Silly.
68s are again, a different story. PCGS MS68 coins have sold for an average of $66. NGC coins have sold for an average of $77. That’s again, a pretty substantial difference. Apparently, ‘8s are better in an NG holder.
PCGS Price Guide for MS 68 shows $90, which is a bit over reality. But NGC Price Guide shows $160, again twice as much as reality!
And, yet again, Full Band coins in ‘8 show an altogether different story. PCGS MS68FB coins sold for an average of $130. NGC MS 68 FT coins sold for an average of $217. Which seems like a huge difference, but it may be artificial. Despite populations being similar for both grading services, not many NGC coins have come to market lately, whereas PCGS coins have been readily available.
Looking at Price Guide, PCGS Price Guide has a value of $225, close to 100% inflation over reality. NGC Price Guide shows a valuation of $275, which is closer to reality. In fact, according to the sales records for the few pieces that have come to market, it’s about right, perhaps slightly over. However, if more of the NG coins came to market, I think the prices could quickly come in line with PCGS-selling pieces and the prices would equalize, making NGC’s Price Guide unrealistic.
That said, the data is undeniable. Both Mint State 68 and Mint State 68 Full Torch 1996-W Roosevelt Dimes are more valuable in an NGC holder and it’s entirely possible that NGC’s hyper-inflated price guide has something to do with it.
The current auction record for a 1996-W Roosevelt Dime is $411 for a coin grade Mint State 69 Full Torch by NGC. That seems like a hell of a buy for a great coin. That said, looking closely at the coin, it’s a bit more of an MS 68 to this professional coin grader. So keep an eye out for a fantastic piece. You may be able to get a phenomenal coin in a fairly graded PCGS holder and cross it to NGC for instant profit!
Then again, maybe not.