This week, we took a look at some early silver Roosevelt Dimes at the top of the population.
We’re not talking about a lot of coins here:
1946-P in Mint State 68 Full Band/Torch: 4 coins PCGS, 3 coins NGC
(incidentally, NGC graded one coin 69, but it hasn’t come up for auction since 2004, where it sold for $12,650)
1947-S in Mint State 68 Full Band/Torch: 8 coins PCGS, 4 coins NGC
(each service has certified one coin at 8+FB/T)
1949-S (semi-key date) in Mint State 67+ FB/T: 10 coins PCGS, 1 coin NGC
So that’s an interesting cross-section. We didn’t look at the ’55 – perhaps that will be the subject of a future article.
What we’re interested in today is, what are these coins doing?
Of all the coins we looked at, the record was for that one NG ’46-P in ‘9. There are other Roosevelt Dimes to have sold for more since then, but not of the three we looked at.
We’re looking at only 33 coins total, and we’re trying to get a bead on the market.
1946 Roosevelt Dime
Let’s take them year by year: 1946.
The ’46 is always going to be a biggie. More coins were made that year than the rest of the 1940s combined. Well, that’s a bit of a stretch – but not much. But, there were more coins minted in 1946 than all of the rest of the Philly coins for the 1940s. And the other mints had substantially fewer. Seems Roosevelt was a dearly beloved President.
And of all of these close to a billion coins, only 33 have been found in top condition. Of the 1946 pieces, we’re looking at a total of a baker’s dozen for all of the Roosevelt collectors to compete over to add to their collection. And you better believe the Roosevelt Registries are tight.
As we noted before, the 69 hasn’t come to auction lately. Only a couple of the 8 FBs have come to auction, the last of which, a PCGS coin, sold at Legend for a whopping $10,869 in 2015. Heritage sold three NGC coins pieces in 2014, and they got progressively cheaper, starting at $2,800, then $1,900, then just $1,500. I guess the market liked the PC coin better. It’s very colorful compared to the others, so that may have played into the equation. More likely, it’s considered the finest by the serious Roosevelt specialists. (Many of the top Roosies are colorful and beautiful.)
1947-S Roosevelt Dime
1947-Ss have come to market in 8FB with some regularity, despite the fact that there aren’t a ton of them. In 2004, Heritage sold a coin with no picture for $621. The high point for the grade was 2012, when Stack’s Bowers sold a PCGS coin for $6,200. It’s been a steady decline since then, the last coin in this grade – NGC – selling for just $1,116 in April of 2017 through Heritage. The last PCGS coin sold for $2,115 in January of ’17 through Heritage.
1949-S Roosevelt Dime
What’s interesting to me right away is a result of the pops: the ’49-S is one of the least expensive of the bunch. It’s also one of the most plentiful in top grade. So if you want an iconic date, it seems you don’t have to pay much to get it! It also certainly has something to do with the fact that no Full Bands/Full Torch coins have certified in ‘8.
But, they seem to be upside-down compared to the other dimes we looked at so far. They’re actually going up (slightly, at least) in value.
Unfortunately, top coins haven’t sold going back too far, so we have results only from what appears to be the height of the market. In June 2013, Hertiage sold a 7+FB for $3,300. Just last year, Stack’s Bowers sold a 7FB (no plus) for $3,700. In June, 2013 a 7FB sold for $1350, so that’s a pretty stout raise in price. Of course, it could be somebody was working the upgrade angle – with sparse results it’s dangerous to draw too much of a conclusion. As recently as January, Legend sold a lovely PC7+FT for $3,500, so that $3,700 might have been a fluke.
The Top of Pop Market in Roosevelts
So what’s going on? As far as the top-pop market in Roosevelts, they’re on the slide a bit. Perhaps it’s that coins keep getting made, slowly. It could well be that there is lacking confidence in the certification companies about FB/FT designations. Many collectors are frustrated to find that coins they thought would make Full Band did not, when other coins that have gotten the designation display weaker strike.
One thing is certain: when you drop off just one point, these coins are CHEAP. You can pick up a spectacular ‘7FB with brilliant color for between $200 and $500 or so. It’s only the rarified air of 68s, ‘8+s, and 8FBs where things get silly.
On the other hand, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a buy. It’s tough to gauge how many millions are out there in fresh rolls. If you’re a casual collector, it may be wise to stay away from paying top-of-pop prices.
Of course, if you love a coin and you gotta have it, get it! I could be totally wrong here and hundreds of ‘7s and ‘7+FBs will continue to get made while the true MS 68 coins remain elusive. In which case, buy them all!
The key date phenomena is also fascinating. The name power of the ’49-S seems to be carrying weight these days, despite the fact that no Mint State 68s have thus far been made. You better believe that when one does get made, it’ll set an auction record.