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 Good Mercury Silver Dime1916-d Mercury Silver Dime1916-d 10c Mercury Dime1916-d Mercury Dime 10c - Pcgs Ag Details - Certified & Graded *no Reserve!Rare 1916-d Mercury Dime Pcgs Ag-03 Cac No Reserve1942 Pcgs Ms64 Rainbow Toned Mercury Dime Roll 1941 Mercury Silver Dimes.. Ch/gem BuRoll 1944 Mercury Silver Dimes... Ch/gem Bu1944 Mercury Dime (ngc Graded) Exceptional In Contrast Frosty Luster Ms 67 Fb +1943 Pcgs Ms65fb Gem Rainbow Rim Toned Mercury Dime1941 D Pcgs Ms66fb Gem Rainbow Toned Mercury DimeSet Of Mercury Silver Dimes 1934 To 1945 (35 Coins).. Ch/gem BuLove Token 1883 Silver Seated Liberty Dime Love Token***fast, Free Shipping!!Mercury Dime Collection/set, Only One Missing, 90% Silver, Looks GoodRoll 1942 Mercury Silver Dimes.. Ch/gem Bu1916 - 1945 P D S Mercury Head Silver Partial 77 Coin Set Missing 16d1934 D - Mercury Dime - Anacs Ms 641940 P Proof Silver Mercury Dime Ngc Graded Pf66 High GradeChoice Uncirculated Better Date 1920-d Mercury Silver Dime ~ Must Have!1941 P Proof Silver Mercury Dime Ngc Graded Pf66 High Grade1920 Mercury 10 Cents - Full Bands - Nice Uncirculated1920-s Au-58 Mercury Dime Certified / Graded About Uncirculated-58 Lustrous Coin1931-d 10c Pcgs Ms 64 Fb Mercury Dime Full Split Bands Winged Liberty Nice Tone A Roll Of 50 Silver Mercury Dimes G To Au Condition1939 P Proof Silver Mercury Dime Ngc Graded Pf67 High Grade1934 P Us Mercury Dime Ngc Graded Ms66 Fb Full Bands Gem Unicrculated Coin!1920 S Mercury Dime; Very Choice Bu Fsb Needle Sharp Strike; Scarce Date1921-d Mercury Dime, Nice Rims And Detail ~ True Auction, No ReserveRoll Of Mercury Dimes 50 Silver Very Nice Coins1921-d Mercury Dime **key Date** Decent Album Filler Coin1942 Proof Mercury Silver Dime1938-s Pcgs Mercury Dime Pcgs Ms 631921 Mercury Dime. Better Date!1921-d Mercury Dime, Better Date, ** Free Shipping!Uncirculated 1934-d Mercury Dime Free Shipping!1942-d * Pcgs Ms67 Fb * Cac * Silver Mercury Liberty Head Dime 10c * Super Gem +1942 Mercury Dime Pcgs Ms67fb Ms 67 FbRoll 1945 Mercury Silver Dimes.. Ch/gem BuOne Roll Silver Mercury Dimes (50 Coins) Mixed Dates $5 Roll 50 Coin Lot 1916-1943 Mercury Dimes P, D & S Estate Collection Circ-msUncirculated 1931-s Silver Mercury Dime Free S/h!!!1942/1 Mercury Dime Rare! No Reserve Auction!!1944 Pcgs Mercury Dime Pcgs Ms 66 ** Free Shipping!1921-d And 1921 Key Date Mercury Dimes Lot1926 Mercury Dime Nicely Toned Au-uncirculated * Free Shipping *1935-s & 1936-d Mercury Dimes, Anacs Au58Roll 1941-d Mercury Silver Dimes.. Ch/gem Bu31 Circulated 1921 P & D Mercury Dime LotRoll 1943 Mercury Silver Dimes.. Ch/gem BuFull Roll Of 50 Silver Mercury Dimes G To Au A Roll Of 50 Silver Mercury Dimes G To Au ConditionMercury Head Dime Collection 1916 To 1945 39 Total No Reserve(15) 1941-1945-s Mercury Dimes Wartime Era Short Set - Nice White Au Coins - 90%1945 D Pcgs Ms66+ Gem Colorful Toned Mercury Dime Bu Toned 1934-d Mercury Silver Dime15 Different 1941-1945 Pds Circulated Mercury Dime Set1925d Mercury Choice Very Fine Silver Dime! Lower Mintage! Old Us Coins!Civil War Year 1861 Silver Seated Liberty Dime 153 Years Old Dark Coin1936 Pcgs Ms66 Gem Colorful Toned Mercury Dime 1941-d Mercury 10 Cents - Full Bands - Pcgs Ms65