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 Dime Fine In Grade No Distractions Key To Series1942/1 Mercury Dime, Highly Desired Choice Vf+ Mint Error, Strong Over-date!1916-1945 Pds Mercury Dime Near Complete Set 74 Coin Everything But 1916d Nr! 1942/1 Mercury Dime, Avidly Pursued Choice Au++/unc Key Date Mint Error!1916-d Mercury Dime 10¢- Rare Key Date- Low GradeSet Of Mercury Silver Dimes 1934 To 1945 (35 Coins).. Ch/gem Bu1916-d Mercury Dime Pcgs Ag031916-d Mercury Dime, Highly Coveted Key Date In Series, Always In High Demand!1921-d Mercury Dime Coin1927-d Mercury Silver Dime Choice Au+++-brilliant Uncirculated ~ Nice Luster!Set Of Mercury Silver Dimes 1941 To 1945 (15 Coins).. Ch/gem Bu1929-d Ngc Mercury Dime, Full Split Bands, Ngc Ms 64 Fb ** Free Shipping!1926-s Mercury Dime, Highly Desired Rare Key Date, ** Free Shipping!1916-d Mercury Dime // Ag-good // (md277)Roll 1944 Mercury Silver Dimes... Ch/gem BuMercury Head Dime Album 73 Coins 1916-1945 W/1921-p In Old 40's Album No ReserveLot Of (50) Mercury Silver Dimes, 1934-1945 Full Roll Better Condition XfBulk Lot Of !!1500 Mercury Dimes 90% Silver United States Coins CirculatedOriginal Obw Mercury / Barber Dime Roll Double Gem Bu D-mint "frb Denver"Bag Of 1000 Pcs ($100 Face) - 90% Silver Us Mercury Dimes (random Years)1919-s Mercury Dime, Tough Better Date, ** Free Shipping!1938-d Bu Mercury Silver Dime Pcgs Ms65fb Full BandsBag Of 1000 Pcs ($100 Face) - 90% Silver Us Mercury Dimes (random Years)1942/41 Mercury Dime, Key Date Ngc Au Details #2656465-004.very Nice Coin.Mercury Dime Collection 1916-1945 Missing 1916-d For Complete Set 77 Dates/marks1916 Mercury Dime - Ngc Grade Ms65 Fb - No ReserveMercury Head Dime Collection 1916 To 1945, 49 Coins, No Reserve!1942 Proof, Ms65 Mercury Pcgs Holder1936 Silver Mercury Dine * Pcgs Ms66 Fb Full Split Bands * Cac Verified * Toned!1917 D Winged Liberty Head Mercury Silver Dime United States Coin (0173)1921 D Mercury Dime Xf Details1916-d Mercury Dime100 Silver Mercury Dimes Various Dates & Mints 1916-1945 Estate Lot Collection 1916 D Mercury Dime - 1916 D Mercury Silver Dime - Key Date Coin - Rare!U.s. Mercury Head Dime Collection 67 Coins 1916-1945 Whitman AlbumFull Roll Of 50 Silver Mercury Dimes G To Au 1921-d Mercury Dime, Scarce Key Date1941-d Mercury Dime - Ms67fb Pcgs/cac1916-d Mercury Dime 10c - Pcgs Ag Details - Certified & Graded Key Date100-2 Rolls Mercury Head Dimes Lot 90% Silver $10 Face Value 1918-1945 Vg-vfRoll Of 50 Pcs ($5 Face) - 90% Silver Us Mercury Dimes (random Years) Circulated100 Assorted Silver Mercury Head Dimes From The 1920's Some With Mintmarks Original Obw Mercury / Barber Dime Roll Gem Bu 1918 & D-mint "frb Denver"1921 D Mercury Dime Ngc Vg 81921-d 10c Mercury DimeBag Of 1000 Pcs ($100 Face) - 90% Silver Us Roosevelt Dimes (random Years)Ω 1917-d Mercury Dime Au1916-d Mercury Dime - Ngc Ag3 - Should Re-grade Good Roll 1942-s Mercury Silver Dimes.. Ch/gem BuRoll 1945-d Mercury Silver Dimes.. Ch/gem BuRoll Of 1945-p Mercury Silver Dimes 50 Pc Gem Bu Uncirculated Bag Of 1000 Pcs ($100 Face) - 90% Silver Us Roosevelt Dimes (random Years)Lot Of (50) Mercury Silver Dimes, 1935-1945 Full Roll Better Condition Au/bu50 Coin Asst Mercury Dimes Good To Au Lots Of Variety - Silver 1939 Proof Mercury Dime M-320 Free Shipping1944-d Ngc Mercury Dime, Full Split Bands, Ngc Ms 66 Fb ** Free Shipping!Silver Mercury Dime Set Near Complete In Dansco Album. 99¢ Start1938-d Mercury Dime Pcgs Ms66 Fb Old Rattler Holder3-coin Lot, Mercury Dimes, 1934, 1942, 1944-d1921 Mercury Dime, Key Date