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Viewpoint: 1945-P FSB Mercury dime undervalued


(Image courtesy

By Sam Lukes

If one compares a Mint State 1916-D Liberty Head dime with Full Split Bands (FSB) to a Mint State 1945-P with FSB, then, yes, the 1916-D, as one of your readers suggested, “is an overvalued coin.”

Although the 1916-D has a paltry mintage of only 264,000 coins when compared to a colossal production of 159,130,000 for the 1945-P, the latter date emerges as being far rarer with FSB and yet it is blatantly underpriced. Because so few 1916-D dimes were minted, keep in mind that the four dies from which they were struck were less worn so there were a number of them produced in Mint State that exhibited Full Split Bands. However, the same cannot be said for the concluding year of the popular series, the 1945-P, wherein myriad dies were utilized and readily worn, but the coin (because of its high mintage) went unnoticed as did its important reverse strike.

Scrutinizing the current population report from Numismatic Guaranty Corporation reveals there are a total of 169 Mint State 1916-D dimes with Full Split Bands that have been graded from MS-60 to MS-67, including 26 graded in MS-65 over the past 30 years. In comparison, a total of 26 Mint State 1945-P dimes in MS-61 to MS-67 with Full Split Bands have been attributed, including only six in MS-65.

Since its inception 31 years ago, the Professional Coin Grading Service has designated a total of 392 Mint State 1916-D dimes having FSB (MS-60 to MS-67) which includes 36 in MS-65. During that same period, they have graded a total of 118 FSB examples of the 1945-P in Mint State (MS-61 to MS-67), 38 of which graded MS-65.

The current PCGS Price Guide lists the 1916-D dime in MS-65 FSB for $51,500, but the 1945-P FSB in MS-65 is priced at a scant $13,500. On the other hand, NGC lists MS-65 FSB 1916-D dimes for $45,000 while pricing the 1945-P FSB in the same grade for $15,000.

As the late comic Rodney Dangerfield would quip, the 1945-P Liberty Head dime (with Full Split Bands) gets absolutely “no respect!” To reiterate, compared to 1916-D dimes with Full Split Bands, the 1945-P is definitely far rarer with FSB and yet it is blatantly underpriced.

This “Viewpoint” was written by Sam Lukes, a hobbyist from Visalia, Calif.

Viewpoint is a forum for the expression of opinion on a variety of numismatic subjects. To have your opinion considered for Viewpoint, write to David C. Harper, Editor, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. Send email to

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