The Franklin D. Roosevelt situation is interesting. Few great American leaders have as many opponents as Franklin D. Roosevelt, and in fact most who study numismatic history are less than impressed with his Gold Recall Order in 1933 and some of the behind-the- scenes activities in his administration. That said, no matter how you feel about Roosevelt it is awfully hard to dispute that as President he faced challenges unlike any in history, and somehow he managed to meet those challenges with America emerging as a better place when he was finished.
It seems to be a case that, in a very split nation in terms of politics today, Roosevelt is so very hard to understand. The best example was the proposal to take him off the dime and replace him with Ronald Reagan. The idea got nowhere because almost the first voice of opposition was Nancy Reagan, who made it crystal clear Ronald Reagan would not want to replace Franklin Roosevelt. It’s a bit ironic as Reagan might be the closest we have come recently to Roosevelt as he crossed party lines, not always in terms of votes but in terms of respect. You didn’t have to vote for Roosevelt to be a follower of Roosevelt as he without a doubt was the leader of the so-called “Greatest Generation” during the Great Depression and World War II.
Elected four times to the office of President, Roosevelt is probably the only man in history to have a constitutional amendment passed against him just because he had run four times. To have a commemorative for Roosevelt was only logical as the historians, at least in the case of one group equally divided by political party, have now ranked him third (and very close to Lincoln for second) as the greatest American President.
It’s probably only appropriate that the 1997 gold $5 for Franklin D. Roosevelt was somewhat overlooked in importance at the time. With an obverse by T. James Ferrell and a reverse by James Peed, the Roosevelt $5 was offered at regular prices of $225 for a proof and $205 for a BU while the pre-issue discount prices were $195 for the proof and $180 for the BU.
The Roosevelt $5 did not exactly sell out. In 1997 almost any sales were seen as good as the commemorative coin program was in very bad shape. The Atlanta Olympic commemoratives had flooded the market and basically destroyed the idea of modern commemoratives. The orders for coins in 1997 were simply awful, but typically for the time there were too many commemoratives being offered at the same time.
Consider your 1997 options, which included not only the Roosevelt $5 but also the Botanic Gardens dollar as well as the dollar and $5 for the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball. None sold like they were expected to sell. Even though the Roosevelt $5 sold only 29,233 proofs, that was more than the proof sales of the Jackie Robinson $5 in proof and BU combined. To its proof total, the Roosevelt $5 added 11,805 sales in BU.
Typically when it comes to Roosevelt, the sales were seemingly not high but they topped not only the Jackie Robinson $5 but also the George Washington $5 in 1999 and other gold and bimetallic issues since.
Since being released in 1997, the Roosevelt $5 has been advancing slowly but surely in price. It has not been an immediate major price jump, but consider that now, 15 years later, the proof is at $442, up $217 from the issue price, while the BU is at $1,275, up an impressive $1,070 from its issue price.
Those are pretty good increases over the time since the Roosevelt $5 coins were sold. The increases are not as spectacular as the Jackie Robinson $5, but they still have to be seen as impressive advances.
Where the Franklin D. Roosevelt $5 goes from here is an open question, but with its track record of getting stronger, the future has to be seen as bright, if not spectacular.