On February 9, 1977, Frank H. MacDonald, then-Deputy Director of the United States Mint, announced that the Denver facility would cease production. Two days later, the branch mint in Colorado shut down. This was mainly due to the suspension of die cutting at the Philadelphia Mint on February 1 caused by the nationwide natural gas crisis. While open-ended, the shutdown was expected to last no more than one to two months.
During this shutdown, the Denver Mint underwent a series of upgrades, including a modernization to its one- and five-cent coin production machinery and the installation of a state-of-the-art CCTV surveillance and alarm system. But despite these improvements to the Denver facility, the aging building was still nearly 100 years old. The Treasury Department, however, was hesitant to ask Congress for a second round of funding – this time to build a replacement facility. This was necessary because while $65 million had been appropriated for the task by the House of Representatives during the 94th Congress, the Senate Banking Committee refused to consider the bill.
Meanwhile, the three facilities at Philadelphia, West Point, and Denver fired a combined 117 employees.
As a result of these disruptions, the issuance of dimes at the Denver Mint was reduced by almost 46% from the previous year. It wouldn’t be until 1980 that Denver struck a mintage of dimes equal to that of 1976.
The 1977 D Roosevelt Dime in Today’s Market
Examples with Full Bands (FB) designation, also called Full Torch, hold a dramatic premium over their standard grade counterparts.
In MS 67, the highest graded FB example, the 1977-D is worth just over $1,000. In just one grade lower (MS 66), coins with the FB designation are worth approximately $150. This price then drops to $25 for examples graded MS 65 and to between $10 and $20 for MS 63 – 64 graded examples. Due to the grading requirements for FB examples, the lowest grade possible for this designation is MS 60, and in this grade, the 1977-D Roosevelt dime is valued at $5 to $7.
Interestingly, the only MS 69 for this type is also an obverse die cap error. Due to the uniface nature of this piece, it can’t possibly earn the FB designation. This error has repeatedly sold for just over $1,700, and currently holds the auction record for this type. The high value of this piece is due partly to the fact that it is an error, in addition to the high grade. This must be true, because two grades lower in MS 67, the price plumets to less than $100. In fact, this grade is worth between $50 and $60. At one grade lower, in MS 66, the 1977-D is worth between $10 and $15. In MS 64 – MS 65, while several have recently sold for up to $6, the true price for this grade is only $1. Examples between MS 60 and MS 63 are very common and command a price somewhere between $1 and face value.
As a circulating coin with a large mintage of 376,607,228 pieces, non-Mint State examples have no numismatic premium and are only worth face value. That said, Mint State dimes do hold a premium.
This coin is also available as part of the 1977 Uncirculated Mint Set, which were sold by the Mint for $7 starting on September 1, 1977. Today, these sets can be purchased for between $5 and $10.
Most of the obverse design consists of a left-facing bust of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. In the northwest quadrant, directly in front of Roosevelt’s face, is the standard legend LIBERTY. Below the president’s chin, in smaller letters, is the motto IN GOD WE TRUST. Directly below the neck truncation on the bust are the designer’s initials (JS). Placed at a slightly higher line than the motto and to the designer’s initials right is the date 1977. Unlike earlier dimes struck before 1967 that have the mintmark on the lower reverse to the left of the torch, the “D” mintmark is on the obverse above the date 1977.
Centered in the reverse design is a flaming torch symbolizing liberty. The torch sits between the olive branch of peace on the left and the oak branch of victory on the right. Split into four parts between the branches and torch is the USA’s traditional motto: E PLURIBUS UNUM. Since the words are divided as follows, E PLU / RIB / US U / NUM, there are centering dots between each word. This central design is completely surrounded by the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA at the top and the slightly larger denomination ONE DIME on the bottom.
The edge of the 1977-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 designs of both the Roosevelt dime and the Franklin half dollar. Sinnock engraved the 1926 Sesquicentennial American Independence half dollar and gold $2.5, and he also helped sculpt the Army’s modern Purple Heart medal in 1932 for soldiers wounded in combat.
|Year Of Issue:||1977|
|Denomination:||10 Cents (USD)|
|Mint Mark:||D (Denver)|
|Alloy:||75% Copper, 25% Nickel|
|OBV Designer||John R. Sinnock|
|REV Designer||John R. Sinnock|
* * *