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The 1958 Roosevelt Dime Waits in the Wings

This 1958 Roosevelt dime with Full Bands is graded MS-67 by PCGS. (Images courtesy Heritage Auctions.)

This 1958 Roosevelt dime with Full Bands is graded MS-67 by PCGS. (Images courtesy Heritage Auctions.)

There is no way of getting around the fact that recent years have not been the best when it comes to higher prices for most Roosevelt dimes. It is hard to put a good spin on the situation, as prices are a reflection of the market and the prices of most of the Roosevelt dimes have moved very little in recent years.

If there is a bright side to the matter, it has to be that coins tend to have cycles of popularity and other periods when few, if any, seem to care about a certain type. That is the good news, as the bad is that the Roosevelt dime may very well be waiting for its first popular cycle. After more than half a century, the suggestion could be that the Roosevelt dime is well past due for a time of real interest even though the years have seen a few small bursts of interest. An example is 1955, when three of the four lowest-mintage Roosevelt dimes were produced all in the same year. At the time, that was pretty exciting, but even that was overshadowed by the 1955 doubled die obverse cent as well as the fact that the 1955-S cent and dime were to be the final coins produced at the San Francisco Mint.

Over the years, there have been a lot of potentially good Roosevelt dimes that have barely been noticed. One of those dimes is the 1958. There really has been little to nothing written about the 1958, partly because there has not been much written about Roosevelt dimes in general. Almost as important is the fact that the 1958 does not really stand out, even in the relatively quiet world of Roosevelt dimes.

With it not even standing out in Roosevelt dimes, a question to ask is whether the 1958 should be expected to stand out at all. There is some reason that starts when you look at the mintage of the 1958, which is just 32,785,652. That might seem adequate initially, but consider the fact that there has not been a lower-mintage dime since the 1958. However, when you look further, you see that there were not that many Roosevelt dimes with a mintage in that range. In fact, the 1917 Mercury dime had a mintage of more than 55 million so, historically speaking, the 1958 is not a common dime at all.

Back in 1958, however, a Philadelphia dime would also be found in proof and mint sets. In both cases, however, the numbers were low since there were only about 50,000 mint sets, and the proof set total was 875,652, which was lower than the 1957 total or the years that followed. Consequently, we can conclude that there is no large reserve supply of the 1958.

Today in MS-65, the 1958 is $10. When the price of silver is around $50 an ounce, the price of any dime is more than $300. Of course, back in the late 1970s, an MS-65 1958 Roosevelt dime was not $4 but probably closer to $1 or $1.50. A silver price of even far less than $50 an ounce suddenly makes the 1958 Roosevelt dime in any grade a coin that is more valuable as silver than as a date in a collection. The same would apply to proofs since the sets would be broken up for the silver to be found in the dime, quarter and half dollar.

The situation would have seen the 1958 as a date that could be melted for a profit over the amount any dealer or collector would have paid for perhaps more than a year. How many 1958 dimes were destroyed during that period becomes a very interesting question, although one without an answer as we simply do not know.

What we know for sure is that the 1958 is a potentially better date based on its mintage. We also know that it fit the profile of a date that would have been melted. Today at $10 in MS-65, there is no real indication that it is better but, in fact, with very little pressure on the supply of Roosevelt dimes, we cannot really be sure as to whether the supply of the 1958, especially in a grade like MS-65, is adequate or not.

With added demand, the supply could be tested and only then will we have answers about the 1958.

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