By Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez for PCGS ……
Roosevelt Dimes are among several series that are graded not only upon the basis of circulation wear but also depending on the presence of certain details that are recognized by special grading designation. In the case of the Roosevelt Dime, this special grade-related designation is known as Full Bands (FB), which refers to the horizontal twin bands found on the torch that alights the reverse of this popular coin.
The torch is flanked by an olive branch to the viewer’s left and a twig of oak on the right, altogether representing liberty, peace, and strength. The design by sculptor-engraver John R. Sinnock has been reproduced on many billions of Roosevelt Dimes since 1946, yet only a relatively small minority showcase the design in the full sense as was intended. As is often the case with coins, strike deficiencies hamper the completeness of the design on so many of these pieces. Among the areas most prone to lacking detail are the bands on the torch, something seen most especially on business-strike examples distributed into circulation.
As published in the PCGS Rare Coin Market Report “Coin Designations” section:
“PCGS designates Full Bands for Roosevelt Dimes that grade MS60 or better and show full separation of the upper and lower horizontal bands of the torch on the reverse. To qualify for this designation, a coin must also show no significant cuts or marks across the horizontal bands.”
While there are no set percentages or ratios on exactly how many Roosevelt Dimes with partial bands exist for every specimen with Full Bands in the wild, a date-by-date breakdown shows some dates offer only a handful of FB specimens above MS66; such is the case with common dates proving to be conditional rarities, including the 1949-S, the 1955-S, the 1958, the 1965, and the 1994-D, among many others.
The overall scarceness of these well-struck Roosevelt Dimes speaks for itself by merely comparing market prices for certain specimens and across sets. A complete date-and-mintmark set of Roosevelt Dimes with Full Bands in MS67FB trades for $19,425 in November 2021 according to the PCGS Price Guide. Compare this to the much lower market price of $3,495 for that same set in MS67 without Full Bands designation.
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