From the July 6 Numismatic News E-Newsletter:
Did Baby Boomers get all the good Mercury dimes?
Here are some answers sent from our e-newsletter readers to Editor Dave Harper.
Not sure what you mean by good, but as a kid I did pull a lot right out of circulation. I filled up most of a Mercury dime book with dimes I got right from change. And I did fill a Roosevelt dime book with dimes, all from change.
And about four years ago, I decided to see just how much of a Mercury dime book I could fill going through junk silver at shops and shows. I managed to fill another Mercury dime book with every coin but the 1916-D and the 1921-D. And many of them are very high grades.
When some dealers say their junk silver is unsearched by them – you can believe them!
Yes, many of the collecting Boomers have collected the Mercury dimes; hopefully, many in the form of a set. The balance can be in silver coinage. What a great long-term investment this is. Perhaps a set of Roosevelt silver dimes will be just as good.
As a retired Baby Boomer, I have been collecting Mercury Dimes for six months. I have collected a lot of other sets over the years. I decided to collect Mercury dimes as a challenge but am finding the tougher dates (’16-D, ’21-D) are very expensive. I never collected Mercury dimes in my youth or working years.
Chippewa Falls, Wis.
I do not believe that the Baby Boomers have all of the Mercury dimes. I do believe that most of the professional coin dealers and silver hoarders had them and simply sent anything that would grade less than an extra fine to some smelter for silver bullion price. That would make their remaining stock increase in value.
Yes, we found them all. I was working in a machine shop in 1969 when a friend put a quarter in the coffee vending machine and, in his change, out came a 1916-D in XF. Word spread and brought many offers to trade for proof sets and other coins, which he said no to.
I am a Baby Boomer (class of 1951), and the answer is no!
Not sure if they got all the good ones...but they certainly got all the bad ones! Imagine, if you will, finding worn-out Walking Liberty half dollars, Standing Liberty quarters, Mercury dimes, and Buffalo nickels in the cash register at a local store or the offering plate at church! And then they had to figure out how to pay for them...and then later on...we spent them on candy!
Colorado Springs, Colo.
I began collecting in December 1956 and never found a scare Mercury. A dime was a lot of money to a nine year old. The best find was a 1930-S in AU around the mid to late 60s. I have since purchased both overdates and the 1916-D. All three have decreased in value, about $200 apiece, over the last three years or four years, but they are still fun to own.
I also never spotted an Indian Head cent, Liberty nickel, or Morgan of any denomination other than silver dollars, which were plentiful in California. 1878s were common. Too bad I didn’t save any due to the numerous VAMS of that date. I did find two 1903-S dollars, an 1893 in AU that might have had a value of two or three dollars at that time, and two 1892-S dollars.
The 1893 was the most valuable coin find, but a 1931-S cent I got in exchange for a nickel at the supermarket in order to buy jellybeans from a candy machine was a the most fun find I ever had. I let out a scream, and the teller thought that he gave me the wrong change. That was in 1959, and I was in the sixth grade.
Yes, they did.
But now I find over 60 percent of slab grading on Mercury Dimes to be terrible.
I looked at 480 MS-65 Mercury dimes that were no more than MS-63.
So far this year at conventions, many of the dealers have had the same Mercury dimes in their inventory for more than three years. I bought only nine that were originally sold by Heritage in 1973.
One dealer asked me what my problem was. I showed him one of his 1928 S MS-65 coins. He said “The holder says MS-65. I don’t grade, I only buy slabs, and if it says MS-65, that’s what I sell it as.”
I said, “I know, and you have had this coin for two years.”
He said, “No, I have not. I’ve never had a coin longer than a month.”
So I showed him on my computer the PCGS #, his name and each convention I looked at the same coin, as well as the dealer’s name who owned the coin before him. Common sense says the coin is now a commodity, with a certified # so it can be tracked.
His final comment was, “You old men are all alike. I hate dealing with old people.”
When a hobby becomes a greedy industry with no controls, this is what happens.
This article was originally printed in Numismatic News Express. >> Subscribe today
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