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    

Original Obw Mercury Dime Roll Double Gem Bu D-mint Barber "frb Denver"Original Obw Mercury / Barber Dime Roll Gem Bu 1917 & D-mint "frb Denver"Original Obw Mercury / Barber Dime Roll Gem Bu 1923 & D-mint "frb Denver"Original Obw Mercury / Barber Dime Roll Double Gem Bu D-mint "frb Denver"Original Obw Mercury / Barber Dime Roll Gem Bu 1916 & D-mint "frb Denver"Original Obw Mercury / Barber Dime Roll Double Gem Bu D-mint "frb Denver"Original Obw Mercury / Barber Dime Roll 1895 & S-mint "frb Denver"1942/1 Overdate 2 Over 1 Mercury Silver Dime1916-d Mercury Dime1942/1 Key Date Mercury Silver Dime Error Ngc F12Near Complete Set 76 Mercury Dimes 1916-45 W/ 1921 1921-d (only Missing 1916-d)Mercury Silver Dime Set Collection 76 Coins Including 1921pd 1916 Pds - 1945 Pds1923-s Mercury Dime, Lustrous Pq Near Gem Beauty, ** Free Shipping!1916 To 1945 Mercury Dime Collection / 76 Coins - Missing Only The 1916 D» 1916-d « Mercury Dime 10¢ Collection Of 110 Mercury Head Dimes 1916 To 1945 2 Incomplete Sets Look Nr1916-d Mercury Dime Au DetailsMercury Dime Set Of 77 Coins Include 1921 And 1921-d! Premium Grades!1938-p Proof Mercury Dime Pcgs Pr67 Ogh ** Free Shipping**Mercury Dime Set 1916 P-1945 S In Dansco Album Complete Set Without The 1916 D1920-d Mercury Dime, Sharp Strike Definition! ** Free Shipping!1916-d Mercury Dime 10¢- Rare Key Date- Anacs Slab Fr 21941 Proof Mercury Dime Pcgs Pr67 Ogh ** Free Shipping**Large Collection Of Silver Mercury Dimes1939 Proof Mercury Dime Pcgs Pr66 Ogh ** Free Shipping**1917 D Silver Mercury Dime Ms Fsb Gem Unc Coin Collection Gold Bullion Fb1923 10c Ngc Ms 66 Fb Mercury Silver Dime, Scarce Full Split Bands, Nice Coin1927-s Mercury Dime, Tough Choice Au++/unc Better Date, ** Free Shipping!Pcgs Ms64fb 1916 Mercury Dime Silver Coin Collection Gold BullionPcgs Ms66fb 1945 D Mercury Dime Silver Coin Collection Gold Bullion1916 - 1945 Pds Mercury Dime Almost Complete 72 Coin Set In Littleton Album 1942/1 10c Pcgs Vf35 - Scarce Overdate Variety - Mercury Dime. Key Date 90% Silver Mercury Dimes 200 For 20$ Face Value1920-s Mercury Dime1916-d Mercury Dime Ag/g About Good / Good - Guaranteed - No Reserve Auction1921-d Mercury Dime 10¢- Rare Key Date- Low Grade*very Nice 1921-d "key Date" Mercury Dime - Estate Fresh*1942 Pf67 (proof) Mercury Dime Ngc/cac Certified GemLot Of 50 Mercury Winged Liberty Dimes 1 Full Roll $5 Face Value 90% Silver1921-d Mercury Dime - About Good Details1920 Mercury Dime Pcgs Ms65 Fb ** Free Shipping**1919-s 10c Mercury Dime Pcgs Au 53 - No Reserve!1935-d Mercury Dime Ngc Ms66 Fb ** Free Shipping**Uncirculated 1918-d Denver Mint Silver Mercury Dime Free Shipping1934-d Mercury Dime1916 10c Mercury Dime Pcgs Ms 64 Fb (full Bands) - No Reserve!1931-d Mercury Dime Ngc Ms66 Fb ** Free Shipping**1944-d 10c Pcgs/cac Ms67 Fb - Mercury Dime1920-d Mercury 10 Cents -full Bands- Outstanding Uncirculated Rare Variety!1925 S Mercury Dime,choice Beatifully UncirculatedCirculated 1924-d Denver Mint Silver Mercury Dime Free ShippingPcgs Ms62fb 1924 Error Mercury Dime Silver Coin Collection Gold BullionUncirculated 1930 Philadelphia Mint Silver Mercury Dime Free ShippingMercury Dimes 1925d, 1926s, 1930sCirculated 1931-d Denver Mint Silver Mercury Dime Free ShippingUncirculated 1931-s San Francisco Mint Silver Mercury Dime Free Shipping1934d Mercury Dime!! Nice!!1926-s Mercury Dime Silver Coin1916 Mercury Dime Ms63 Fsb Anacs Gorgeous Toning!! Reverse Off 10 Degrees1921-d Fine Mercury Silver Dime Id#u750