by Richard Fickau
I just read the full-page article in the Sept. 17 issue of Numismatic News on the famed 1975 No S Roosevelt dime proof coin which was featured in Heritage’s Long Beach Auction. At the time of writing, I haven’t heard what the sales price is but the only other time this coin was sold was in the 2011 ANA auction. It brought almost $350,000.
To quote the article, “The 1975 No S dime is absolutely essential to complete a collection of Roosevelt dimes, and registry set enthusiasts will find no suitable substitute for this remarkable specimen once this lot has passed.”
There are not one but two coins of this proof type in existence. One or the other will always come up for sale in the future. It astonishes me how very few “rare” modern coins are being chased by registry set-crazed collectors. In this case, according to the article, “more than 2,220 page views and 74 individuals” were tracking this coin. Way prior to the auction, it already had a high online bid of $216,000.
Sticking with the Roosevelt dime series and Registry Set then, my beef is this:
Thanks to David Hall and PCGS’influence, the Registry Set phenomenon took off way back in 2001. Presently, there is a what PCGS calls “The Roosevelt dime F8 series with major varieties, circulation strikes and proof (1965-present) set.” For set completion, 199 different coins are required. In 2017, the then current finest set in this category was 96.98 percent complete. It lacked only the 1968 No S proof coin and the coin being sold at this year’s Long Beach Auction.
For the ultimate Roosevelt collection, you need a set of F8 Roosevelt dimes with major varieties, both circulation strikes, and proofs, minted from 1946 to the present day. PCGS stated that 38 of these sets were being assembled. For set completion, 263 coins were required. Two years ago, the top-rated set in this category was 99.24 percent completed, again lacking only the 1968 and the 1975 No-S proof coins. Perhaps a dozen or so 1968 coins exist.
My question is, how can any Roosevelt set be truly complete without including the 1982 No- P circulation dime in both strong and weak strikes? To my knowledge, just about everyone has excluded the weak strike coins from inclusion consideration in a Registry Set.
This is the only circulating dime ever minted with an error in the entire Roosevelt canon. The strong strike coin is listed in the PCGS Coin Guide and other price guides but not the weak strike example. This exclusion is pure snobbery at best and a gross disservice to collectors at worst.
I might add that the PCGS population report lists only eight of the 1982 No-P dimes in MS67 condition. There are none higher in both instances. One coin is weak strike! To use the article’s words again, “This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire one of the rares (modern) issues in the entire U.S. Federal series.” I happen to own that one 1982 No-P weak strike dime. So tell me again why I should get excited about the 1975 No-S piece? Outside of its $350,000 price tag?
This “Viewpoint” was written by Richard Fickau, an avid dime collector. To have your opinion considered for Viewpoint, write to Editor, Numismatic News, 5225 Joerns Drive, Stevens Point WI, 54481. Email submissions can be sent to numismatics@aimmediacom.