“Full Split Bands” or “Full Bands” is a grading designation assigned to Mercury Dimes, which generally exhibit strong strikes and full design details. These coins are actively sought by collectors of the series and command premiums above examples which do not display full bands.
A high point on the reverse design of the Mercury Dime design is the two central, horizontal bands that bind together the fasces. On well struck examples from a pair of well defined dies, the two sets of bands will show full separation. On weakly struck coins or coins produced from worn dies, the separation will not be visible. In order to qualify as “Full Split Bands” there can be no interruption of the bands due to weakness of strike, contact marks, or planchet problems.
The two major coin grading services PCGS and NGC evaluate mint state Mercury Dimes for Full Bands as part of the grading process. Coins which meet the criteria will have the designation “FB” after the numerical grade. For some issues of the series, coins are extremely scarce with Full Bands. In these instances, the designation can create enormous premiums for these conditional rarities.