Careful examination of this 1963-D Roosevelt Dime reveals an alteration to the torch
Coins are altered in a variety of ways for a number of different reasons. Some alterations may be unintentional, such as corrosion or altered color due to improper storage. Other alterations—altered dates or added mintmarks—are attempts to make a coin resemble a rarer date.
There are also alterations that try to make the coin appear to be a better condition. In this category, various forms of improper cleaning are most common, but there are other methods that people employ to artificially enhance a coin’s appearance. This 1963-D Roosevelt Dime features one of the more unusual alterations.
1963-D Roosevelt Dime with an odd alteration. Images courtesy NGC
Many collectors of Roosevelt Dimes look for specimens that have distinct, separated lines in the torch on the reverse. These coins are designated “FT” for Full Torch by NGC on the certification label and can sometimes carry a substantial premium over coins without the FT designation.
The 1963-D, for example, trades for $45 in MS 65 FT versus $20 in MS 65, $170 in MS 66 FT versus $30 in MS 66 and a whopping $1,500 in MS 67 FT versus $145 in MS 67, according to the NGC Price Guide. There is clearly a lot of incentive for someone to make a non-FT dime appear to be an FT dime, especially in high grades.
Altered bands on 1963-D Roosevelt Dime
A sharp-eyed NGC grader spotted that someone had attempted to do that with this coin. The torch’s bottom band had been re-engraved in an attempt to receive the FT designation. This alteration is not particularly well done, as the line is far too sharp and also slants downward to the right. Nonetheless, even an amateur attempt such as this can fool many collectors.
Hopefully the person who submitted this coin did not pay a significant premium for it thinking that it was a Full Torch example. It is important to always closely examine any prospective purchase, but it is particularly necessary when dealing with a coin that purports to be rare and valuable. For added confidence, buy a coin that is certified by NGC—both the numeric grade and FT designation are covered by the NGC Guarantee.
NGC-Certified Roosevelt Dimes Currently Available on eBay