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Mystery dime not what it seems

A reader recently sent an email to me that told me he had owned a coin for years that looks to him to be a 1940-D Roosevelt dime.

As every collector knows, the Roosevelt series began in 1946.

The reader wrote: “I’d like to ask your advice on a 1940-D coin that I just got back from having graded by (third-party grading service), which I am a member.

“I will try to make my long story shorter, I’ve had this coin for several years now and I’d take it out now and then just to look at it, (I always thought there was something strange about it).

“Well, I finally talked myself into having it graded by (third-party grading service). They graded it as an F-12, which doesn’t bother me because I already knew what condition the coin was in, but what does bother me is that I know that the Mercury dimes started in 1916 and went to the 1945 micro S.

"However the coin I have has a Roosevelt front and back. My question to you is how could this happen?

“Would this be considered an error coin?”

The email had no images with it. The grading service the writer mentions is respected.

I simply thought to myself that everybody makes mistakes.

I fired off a brief email reply.

“Without seeing it, my best guess is it was a 1949-D where the lower leg of the “9” has disappeared.”

The collector replied to me at length, but this sentence sums up his sentiment: “I would think that if that was the case that (third-party grading service) would not have graded it.”

A few more days have passed. Another email is in my inbox.

“I wanted you to know that (third-party grading service) has asked me to send this coin back to them for review, which is code for ( we made a mistake and now we have to fix it ) but they agree now that it can’t be a Mercury dime but they are still not sure what to call it.

"They had asked me to send them some pictures, which I did and I thought that maybe you would enjoy seeing them as well.”

I looked at the images that he sent me. As you might guess, the obverse is too blurry to be of any use.

That is what I will say in my reply.

I am glad the grading service is taking a second look. But I think my first emailed response most likely tells the whole story of this coin.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper has twice won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."

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