In spring 2003, the top two holdering companies announced that they would be certifying well-struck Roosevelt dimes with “FT” (full torch, NGC) and “FB” (full bands, PCGS) designations. Both companies based their changes on collector and dealer requests.
This means that Roosevelt dimes in older holders may have undesignated full bands on their labels. That presents you with a keen opportunity to snare a rare coin at minimal cost.
The FT/FB designations do not apply to proof coins, by the way.
Before suggesting what dates to look for, let’s define how to recognize full bands.
Look at the reverse. You will see upper and lower horizontal bands on the torch and three areas of vertical bands above and below each of the horizontal ones. Bands must be clear and unbroken.
When purchasing or bidding on Roosevelt dimes in older holders, check for full split bands. You not only may win a coin that will grade up a point or two, due to more rigorous standards in the 1980s and 1990s, you also may find an undesignated full-bands coin that can add hundreds more dollars in value.
Silver Roosevelt dimes were minted from 1946-1964. Some of those years had poor strikes, making full bands a distinct bonus. You’ll want to find uncirculated ones at the MS66 level, if possible, because there may be little boost in values at the MS64 or MS65 levels, especially in the 90% silver years of the denomination.
I look for full bands in years that quadruple value (or more). Below are specific years at the MS66 level. Ones with asterisks are years in which full bands at MS65 and below feature far lesser values and that may not be worth the cost of paying for regrading.
For comparison, I’ll show the increase in value like this: “1947-S $20/$80*”. That means a 1947-S dime is worth $20 at MS66 and $80 with full bands. Once again, the asterisk notes that at MS65 and lower, values may be far less.
- 1947-S $20/$80*
- 1949 $30/$250
- 1949-S $55/$625
- 1952 $20/$80*
- 1953 $25/$115*
- 1954 $17/$150*
- 1954-S $20/$100*
- 1955 $20/$285
- 1955-S $20/$140*
- 1956 $20/$265*
- 1957 $20/$115*
- 1958 $19/$285
- 1960 $20/$150
- 1961 $20/$170
- 1963 $26/$475*
- 1963-D $25/$150
Many clad Roosevelts offer even greater values than silver counterparts. You should check your favorite price guides to see how much. I collect mainly PCGS coins so I use its price guide.
Some full-band years are really spectacular. For instance, full bands on a 1970 dime at MS64 increases value from $1 to $450, with $900 at MS65 and $1,750 at MS66. Here are a few more MS66 samples:
- 1974-D, $2; $500 with FB
- 1976, $15; $1,250 with FB
- 1980-D, $15; $1,850 with FB
- 1983, $30; $1,100 with FB
The best place to cherrypick clad dimes with full bands is in those low-cost mint sets or rolls that nobody seems to want.