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 Dime1916-d Mercury Dime - Key Date- Better Condition *no Reserve*1942/41 Mercury Dime, Highly Regarded Key Date Mint Error, Choice Bu++/near Gem!1916 D Mercury Dime Super Tough Key Date Pcgs Certified Vf DetailsLot Of 500 Mercury Dimes Circulated Various Dates & Condition1916-d Pcgs Mercury Dime Pcgs F 15 ** Highly Regarded Ultra Rare Key Date!1916 Ngc Mercury Dime, Full Split Bands, Ngc Ms 64 Fb ** Free Shipping!1916 D Mercury Dime - Anacs About Good Condition - 94su-2Mercury Dime Collection 76 Different All There Except 1916dLot Of 100 Mercury Dimes Circulated Various Dates & ConditionUncirculated 1916 Philadelphia Mint Silver Mercury Dime Free Shipping1916-d Mercury Dime Raw But In Decent Shape...Mercury Dime 2016 W Centennial Gold Coin Ngc Sp 70 Early Release - In Hand1916-1945 Mercury Dime Set-77 Total Coins- Includes 1921p, 1921d,1945 "micro" S 1916 Mercury Dime, Full Split Bands, First Year Date Fsb ** Free Shipping!Bulk Lot Of 1420 Mercury Dimes 90% Silver United States Coins Circulated1929-d Mercury Dime - 100% Original W/ Old Album Toning, Superb - Ngc Ms65 FbBulk Lot Of 50 Mercury Winged Liberty Dimes 1 Full Roll $5 Face Value 90% Silver1916 Mercury Dime Ngc Ms 62 F S B 100 Years Old Mercury Dime Collection 74 Different Almost CompletePcgs Official Grading Set Sample 1942d Mercury Dime Xf45 10c - See Pics! RareRoll 1944 Mercury Silver Dimes... Ch/gem Bu1921-d Mercury Dime, Super Tough Vf+ Key Date, ** Free Shipping!Bulk Lot Of 50 Mercury Winged Liberty Dimes 1 Full Roll $5 Face Value 90% Silver1921-d Key Date Mercury Silver Dime - Strong Strike - Very Good1916 10c Mercury Silver Coin Pcgs Ms66 **full Band**Old Mercury Dime Collection 76 Different Mm Coins - Missing 1916d And 1942/12016 W Pcgs Sp70 Gold Mercury Dime Centennial Coin First Strike -ogp Coa Sp 701937 Pcgs Ms 67 Fb Cac Mercury Dime, A Stunning Coin !!52 1944-mercury Silver Dimes 90% Lot #58Uncirculated 1916-s San Francisco Mint Silver Mercury Dime Free Shipping1945-s Pcgs Mercury Dime, Micro "s", Pcgs Ms 65 ** Free Shipping!1925-d Denver Mint Silver Mercury Dime Free Shipping1937 Mercury Dime, Pcgs Ms67 Fb, Stunning, Stone-white Gem Davidkahnrarecoins1945 S Pcgs Ms 67 Cac Mercury Dime, A Stunning Obverse & Reverse Rainbow Coin !1936 Mercury Dime, Pcgs Ms66, Dusty White, Fresh & Superb DavidkahnrarecoinsUncirculated 1926-d Denver Mint Silver Mercury Dime Free Shipping1919-d Denver Mint Silver Mercury Dime Free Shipping125 Mercury Silver DimesRoll 1943 Mercury Silver Dimes.. Ch/gem BuRoll 1944-d Mercury Silver Dimes.. Ch/gem BuSet Of Mercury Silver Dimes 1941 To 1945 (15 Coins).. Ch/gem Bu1921-d Mercury Dime ..........no Reserve!Uncirculated 1916-s San Francisco Mint Silver Mercury Dime Free Shipping1921 Mercury Dime1928-d Mercury Dime ** Free Shipping!Key Date Mercury Dime ! - 1921-d - Nice Full 'd'Uncirculated 1931 Philadelphia Mint Silver Mercury Dime Free Shipping1931-d Pcgs Ms64fb Mercury Dime, Full Split Bands!!! Very Scarce!!! 1918-d Mercury Dime Pcgs Ms63Roll 1941 Mercury Silver Dimes.. Ch/gem BuCollection Mercury Dimes 72 Coins (e2)50 Roosevelt Silver Dimes Lot #50**** Lot Of 50 Silver Mercury Dime Various Grades *****10c Mercury Dime Roll Of 50 Coins Junk Low Grade Worn 90% Silver B01031943-s Pcgs Ms67 Mercury Dime !!! Fantastic Coin !!!1923 Mercury Dime1928-d Denver Mint Silver Mercury Dime Free Shipping1917-d Mercury Dime ** Free Shipping!1921-d 10c Mercury Dime Key Date (bin:d-2)