After a 25-year run, the Barber dime was replaced in 1916 by a coin known variously as the Winged Liberty Head, Winged Cap, or Mercury dime. The coin was designed by sculptor Adolph Alexander Weinman, with engraving help from George Morgan, the designer of the 1878 Morgan silver dollar.

The dime’s design was the result of an open competition, with much better results than a similar contest attempted in 1892. Weinman actually won two commissions from the U.S. Treasury, one for the dime and another for the Liberty Walking half dollar.

The obverse of Weinman’s dime depicts the head and neck of Lady Liberty, who Weinman modeled after Elsie Stevens, the wife of poet Wallace Stevens. Her winged cap, which resembles a cloche, is supposed to symbolize freedom of thought, so the coin’s association with the mythical Mercury is incorrect.

While the coin’s obverse is routinely misidentified, its reverse probably strikes casual contemporary viewers as unremarkable. At a glance, one sees what appears to be a Roman column backed by olive branches. Upon closer inspection, though, the column turns out to be a bundle of sticks, and there’s an ax blade projecting out from the bundle and facing left. Known as a fasces, this ancient Roman symbol of power was a thinly veiled message to the nation’s enemies in Europe that they could have peace (the olive branches) or a fight (the fasces), but the U.S. was prepared for both.

Mercury dimes, as they are still inaccurately called, were minted through 1945 with only a few interruptions—none were struck in 1922 or 1932. The most desirable dimes are ones whose fasces bands (the three horizontal pairs of straps holding the sticks together) are clearly defined. Denver dimes from 1916 had the lowest mintage, so those dimes tend to cost far more than ones from any other year.

Another sought-after dime is the 2-over-1 overdate from 1942—both the Philadelphia and Denver mints made this error, but the Philly goof is especially pronounced. And if someone offers you a 1923 or 1930 dime minted in Denver? It’s a fake.

After the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1945, Weinman’s dime was replaced by a new one designed by mint engraver John R. Sinnock. Roosevelt dimes remain in circulation to this day.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Legendary Coins and Currency

Legendary Coins and Currency

This online exhibition from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History is a great way to get an overview… [read review or visit site]

Society of U.S. Pattern Collectors

Society of U.S. Pattern Collectors

Home to the Society of U.S. Pattern collectors, this well-organized site provides in-depth information on pattern c… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

1916-d Mercury 10 Cents About Good1916-d 10c Pcgs & Cac Ag03 Mercury Dime-key To The Series1916 D Mercury Silver Dime Full Mint Mark Ngc G-4 Key Date #01048270b1937 10c Mercury Dime Roll Ch/gem Bu1916-45 Mercury Dime Set "circ-au" *free Shipping*1921 Mercury Dime, Tough Key Date, ** Free Shipping!1916-s Mercury Dime, Full Split Bands, ** Free Shipping!1942/1 Mercury Dime Pcgs Vf20 Light Original Toning ~super Popular Overdate Mercury Dime Set 70 Coins Total Including 1921 P & D Old Meghrig Album 1941 Silver Mercury Dime Pr 65 Pcgs & Cac. Rattler Holder!1925 D Mercury Dime; Tougher Date Higher GradeUncirculated 1916-s Silver Mercury Dime Free S/h!!!1916 Mercury Dime Pcgs Certified Ms65 Fb No Reserve1919 D Mercury Dime; Scarce Date Higher Grade1929-d Mercury Dime Certified Ms63 Pcgs 1924-s Key Extremely High Grade Mercury Dime From Big Collection1916 Mercury Dime Choice Bu Full Split BandsRoll 1942 Mercury Silver Dimes.. Ch/gem Bu1921-d Mercury Dime Pcgs Vg-8 Uncirculated 1918-d Silver Mercury Dime Free ShippingMercury Dime Collection 1916-1945- No 16 D Or Overdates- With 1945 Micro S Nice 1921-d Mercury Dime Fine ++ Key DateSet Of Mercury Silver Dimes 1934 To 1945 (35 Coins).. Ch/gem BuRoll 1941 Mercury Silver Dimes.. Ch/gem Bu1921 Mercury Dime ** Key Date In Series! ** Free Shipping!Uncirculated 1934-d Silver Mercury Dime Free Shipping1916-d???? Mercury Dime In U/grade Condition.key Date.1921-d Silver Mercury Dime Key Date1921-d Key Date Mercury Silver Dime Vf Condition1921-d Mercury Dime ** Better Date! ** Free Shipping!1916-s Mercury Dime Nice Bu Detail Fully Split Bands Nice LusterUncirculated 1936-s Silver Mercury Dime Free S/h!!!1943 D Ms 67 Fb Ngc 10c Mercury Dime Full Bands1916-d 10c Mercury Dime Ag3 Ngc ***key Date***Roll 1943 Mercury Silver Dimes.. Ch/gem Bu1917-s Mercury Dime, Full Split Bands, ** Free Shipping!Uncirculated 1929-s Silver Mercury Dime Free S/h!!!#2421 - 1937 - Mercury Dime - Ngc Ms 66 Fb1916 Mercury Dime, Full Split Bands, ** Free Shipping!1921-d Mercury Dime ** Free Shipping!1918 Mercury Dime Free S/h!!!Roll 1945 Mercury Silver Dimes.. Ch/gem Bu1937-s Silver Mercury Dime Ms 66 Fb Pcgs. Old Green Pcgs Holder!!1916-d 10c Mercury DimeRoll 1942 Mercury Silver Dimes.. Ch/gem Bu1938-s Mercury Dime Ten Cent Ngc 275952 Ms67fb Full Bands 3 Silver Mercury Dimes 1924,1930,1941***florida Lake Okeechobee Estate1921-d Mercury Dime (g 04) Pcgs1940 Mercury Silver Dime Ngc Ms 67 + Plus Pq ++ Blast White !! Monster Grade!1919p Walking Liberty 50c.. Rare F/vf Beautiful Orig Color Nice 90% Silver Nr1923 P Mercury Dime Bu+++ Full Split Bands!!! Fsb 90% Silver Gem Us Coin1935-s & 1936-s Mercury Dimes (high Mint State) 2 Coins!!!!Uncirculated 1934 Silver Mercury Dime Free Shipping1941-d Mercury Dime Ten Cent Ngc 313605 Ms67fb Full Bands Mercury Dime Lot $24.00 Face1916-d Mercury Dime CoinRoll 1945 Mercury Silver Dimes.. Ch/gem BuRoll 1943 Mercury Silver Dimes.. Ch/gem BuLot Of Mercury Silver Dimes Starter Collection 1916 - 1945 (ggn1927-d Mercury Dime 10c - Pcgs Au50 - Certified & Graded *no Reserve!