Back in the 1950s there was a lot of interest in the 1945-S Mercury dime. In fact, there was even speculation that some 1945-S Mercury dimes with a smaller than normal mintmark might turn out to be significant rarities.
In 1945 the Mercury dime was in its last hours. It was known that with the death of President Roosevelt there was going to be a Roosevelt coin, and with Lincoln, Jefferson and Washington already on three of the regular denominations that new Roosevelt coin was going to be the dime.
The Mercury dime had been popular but Roosevelt was pretty popular as well as the only person ever elected president four times.
Under the circumstances there was probably some saving of 1945 Mercury dimes. It might not have been heavy saving, but by the 1940s there was a certain amount of saving of uncirculated rolls. The 1945-S would not have been especially heavily saved as it actually had a slightly higher mintage than the 1945-D. It was also not likely to be heavily saved because collecting upper denominations was still not widespread. It was, after all, still a time of war.
It is also possible that there was not much attention paid to the 1945-S when it did come out. In fact, we are not sure who discovered that there were some 1945-S dimes with a smaller mintmark. We also are not really sure how the 1945-S with a “micro 8” mintmark was produced. What do that the “micro 8” was created through the use of a punch that was originally intended to be used on Philippine coins from 1907 through 1920. Unfortunately there are no real answers as to how the punch for Philippine coins produced more than two decades earlier ended up being used on Mercury dimes in 1945.
At first the 1945-S with a “micro 8” did not create much of a stir. In the 1940s errors and varieties were just starting to show the first signs of life. The discovery of a 1942/41 Mercury dime had probably helped a good deal in generating interest in errors, but many collectors still were not that interested.
The situation changed dramatically in the 1950s thanks in large part to the 1955 doubled die obverse Lincoln cent. With a nation of cent collectors, an error that was as clearly visible as the 1955 doubled die obverse became a national sensation.
The 1945-S “micro 8” Mercury dime would be one of the coins that benefited from the increased interest. There was a good deal of promotion and at least some feeling that it would eventually soar in price, at least to solid premium levels.
If you look at the prices today you see that the regular 1945-S Mercury dime is $7 in MS-60, $24 in MS-65 and $105 in MS-65 with full split bands. The “micro S” 1945-S is at $28 in MS-60, $115 in MS-65 and $685 in MS-65 with full split bands.
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Realistically the prices are probably about right. The “micro S” was better than the 1945-S but exactly how significant is not clear. If all collectors included it in a regular set then it could reach close to the right price compared to the regular 1945-S. If, however, some considered it a minor matter and opted for the regular 1945-S, the “micro S” was unlikely to reach its full value based on available numbers. At present there seems to be a balance, suggesting that we might have the 1945-S and the “micro S” version in roughly the right historical place.