As the Roosevelt dime entered production in 1972, the design had served its statutorily-mandated minimum service life of 25 years. The four-term president was a fitting choice to replace Weinman’s Winged Liberty design in 1946, and sentiment about the longest-serving U.S. president remained high as the generation he led through the Great Depression and World War II entered their later years.
As revered a figure as he was, Franklin D. Roosevelt and his administration were not beyond criticism. The New Deal saw an enormous increase in the role of the federal government in the lives of Americans. Numismatists might lament his 1933 Executive Order that mandated the recall of millions of gold coins but seen in a broader context, it was the Emergency Banking Act of March 1933 that truly cast the die for the United States to abandon the gold standard.
It was a controversial decision, but necessary given the state of the global economy. By devaluing the dollar, the Roosevelt administration had hoped to raise prices of American goods and reinflate the economy. When Roosevelt marshaled through the Gold Reserve Act of 1934, transferring gold ownership to the Treasury Department, critics felt that the president had swindled the American people.
Were it not for Roosevelt’s steadfast leadership during World War II, historians would have likely had a more divided opinion of the man.
In 1972, the majority of the 90% silver Roosevelt dimes that were manufactured from 1946 through 1964 were no longer passed in the channels of commerce. Not only did the United States Mint sort and remove silver coins in the federal stockpile, but individuals (and likely institutions) behaved as one would expect and removed the more valuable silver dimes from circulation. Quarter dollars suffered the same fate, but silver half dollars, due to their lack of popularity, somehow remained available, tucked away in bags and rolls.
Business strike clad Roosevelt dimes have been minted at Philadelphia every year starting with 1965, and at Denver every year since 1968. The planchets (up until fiscal year 1972) were purchased under contract, after which time the Mint developed the ability to produce its own clad coin strip. Dimes and quarters were the first denominations struck using the mint-made sandwich metal.
Circulation strike dimes produced at the Denver Mint display the D mintmark that is stamped above the date and centered between the digits 7 and 2. Circulation strikes produced at Philadelphia during this period do not carry a mintmark.
The Market for the 1972-D Dime
Of the two circulation strike dimes struck in 1972, the 1972-D, struck at the Denver Mint, is markedly the better of the two in terms of strike quality and eye appeal. This is consistent with output of both mints throughout the first decades of the clad era. The relative ease of locating gem examples, and even gem examples with full strikes, is evidenced by the data. Examples certified by PCGS and NGC skew towards MS65 and MS64, but MS67 examples are not infrequently certified.
To date, PCGS has certified 536 examples of the 1972-D dime, with 13% earning the Full Bands (FB) designation. NGC has graded 241 of the 1972-D dimes; 27% of these coins earned the same designation. By comparison, far fewer Full Torch/Full Band coins struck at the Philadelphia Mint in 1972 have been certified.
It’s important to note that the total number of dimes submitted for this date is in no way indicative of the scarcity of the issue in Mint State from an absolute sense. There are likely thousands of FB/FT 1972 dimes tucked away in rolls and Mint Sets waiting to be found. For some collectors, the thrill of finding your own example and having it certified is a central part of the collecting experience.
Even 50 years after its striking, the 1972-D dime continues to circulate in change. This is owed to two factors: copper-nickel clad coins have a longer service life than the softer 90% silver coins they replaced, and the issue’s plentiful 330,290,000 mintage means that this issue will likely not disappear from circulation for several decades to come unless some major coinage reform takes place in the United States.
Circulated examples bring no numismatic premium and can be freely spent, or collected for the fun of it.
Mint State examples will sell for a premium to collectors.
In 1972, the United States Mint produced 2,750,000 Uncirculated Coin sets, which is sold to collectors for a premium price of $3.50. Each set contained one example of each denomination produced for circulation from each Mint facility, minus the Eisenhower dollar, which was sold to collectors in a separate offering. These $3.50 sets included $1.83 face value and included a Philadelphia and Denver Mint striking of the Roosevelt dime.
2,750,000 is a considerable amount of available inventory, which means that the 1972-D dime will not be scarce in Mint State for the foreseeable future. A reasonable price to pay for a clean example is about $1.00. For four dollars more, however, you could probably buy a complete Mint Set. A run-of-the-mill uncirculated 1972-D Roosevelt dime from a Mint State will likely grade MS64-MS66, of which 10-15% might qualify as FB/FT. Expect to pay approximately $20+ per coin for a service to grade and encapsulate your specimen.
Understanding that cost is essential when looking at the value of the issue in certified holders above MS65. At the time of this writing, four examples of the date are listed on eBay certified by PCGS grades MS65 and MS66. Sellers are asking $29 for the MS65 and between $38 and $39.95 for the MS66. More examples are listed in NGC holders and the prices are all over the place.
One seller is asking $14.99 for an MS66 example, while another seller is asking $89.95 for a coin in the same grade. The seller (not NGC) is representing that example as being PL. IN MS67, one example is listed for $32, while another, in the same grade is listed at a preposterously high price of $900 (the seller claims this example if Full Torch but NGC did not confer the attribution).
The $30-$40 price seems about right, given the convenience of having the coin certified by a service makes up half the cost.
A very attractive example graded MS67PL by NGC sold on eBay on November 13, 2021, for $46.50. This was a sharply struck example with clear lettering and fully Prooflike fields. Honestly, for a coin like this, the price realized seems low. One can imagine that had the example earned the FB/FT designation, that interest would have been considerably greater. This example did not miss that designation by much.
A left-facing profile of Roosevelt occupies most of the obverse space. Inside the smooth rim in front of Roosevelt’s face is the word LIBERTY. IN GOD WE TRUST in smaller letters is positioned below the chin. The date 1982 is squeezed into the space inside the rim and beneath the neck truncation, to the right of the designer’s initials JS, which are just below and oriented parallel to the edge of the neckline. The mintmark “D” is located at the back of the head between the date and the truncation of Roosevelt’s neck.
Completely encircling inside the reverse smooth rim are the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and (slightly larger letters) ONE DIME, the two phrases separated by centered dots. In the center is a flaming torch, flanked by an olive branch to the left and an oak branch to the right. Forming a horizontal line through the base of the torch and both branches is a partitioned E PLURIBUS UNUM, with centering dots separating the three Latin words.
The edge of the 1972-D Roosevelt dime is reeded.
John R. Sinnock (1888-1947) served as the eighth Chief Engraver of the United States Mint from 1925 through his death on May 14, 1947. He is responsible for the design of both the Roosevelt dime and the Franklin half dollar.
|Year Of Issue:||1972|
|Denomination:||10 Cents (USD)|
|Mint Mark:||D (Denver)|
|Alloy:||75% Copper, 25% Nickel|
|OBV Designer||John R. Sinnock|
|REV Designer||John R. Sinnock|
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