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    

Key Date 1916 D Mercury Dime In Ngc G6 Good ConditionExcellent Detail 1916 D Mercury Dime With Certificate Grade Opinion Vg 8/8 Nr1934-1945 Mercury Dime Set. All Inclusive. In Old Capital Holder. 1916-d Mercury 10 Cents Pcgs Ag03 Very Original Toning!1921 D Mercury Dime United States Silver Coin No Reserve997 Mercury Silver DimesNearly Complete Set Of Circulated Mercury Dimes 1916-1945 In Whitman Folder1916-d Key Date Mercury Dime, Ngc About Good 3, So Close To Full Good!!1936-s Pcgs Mercury Dime, Full Split Bands, Pcgs Ms 65 Fb ** Free Shipping!1942/1 Mercury Dime Anacs Ef-45 DetailsGorgeous Rainbow Toned Pcgs/cac 1942 Pr67 Mercury Dime Pq+++++++* Key Error 1942/1-p Mercury Head Dime * Winged Liberty Head * Extra Fine * Genuine Obw 1949 Original Sealed Nf String Mercury Roosevelt Dime Box 50 Rolls1916-d Mercury Dime 10c - Anacs Ag3 - Rare Key Date - Certified CoinLot (20) High Grade, Uncirculated Silver Mercury Dimes 1935 1937 D 1936 S 1942 D1918-s Mercury Dime1921-d Mercury Dime 101924 Mercury Dime Pcgs Ms 64 Fsb Gorgeous Toning Old Grren Holder OghWhitman 1916-1945 Mercury Head Dime Collection1921-d Mercury Dime *free Shipping After First Item*1919-d Mercury Dime 10c With Fsb Die Breaks **ch/au-bu** Us Coin "rare" !!!!!Lot Of 25 Silver Mercury Dimes, Circulated, A Few Nice Condition 1916 - 1945Uncirculated 1931 Silver Mercury Dime Free Shipping1942/1 10c Mercury Dime - Popular Overdate - Unc Uncirculated Mercury Dime Collection 1916-1945 Almost Complete...6 MissingRoll 1941-d Mercury Silver Dimes.. Ch/gem BuMercury Dimes Set 1916-1945 37 Mercury Head Dime Collection With Oberwise Cardboard Holder 90% SilverLot Of Three Mercury Dimes 1921, 1921 D, And 1926 S Key Dates1931 S Mercury Dime1919 Mercury Dime Pcgs Ms66 Fb Fsb Full Struck Band Low Pop!!!1940 10c Pcgs/cac Proof 65 * Gold Cac * Mercury Dime - No Reserve!76 Ag-vf+ Mercury Dimes In 1916-1945 Deluxe Whitman Album *no Over Dates* Id#p711938 D Mercury Dime 10c Pcgs Ms65fb Rainbow Toned Dual Sided Color Toning Breathtaking 1942 Proof Mercury Head Silver Dime Conservatively Graded Ngc Pf671921 Mercury Dime United States Silver Coin No Reserve1931 D Mercury Dime1916-d Mercury Dime............no Reserve!Pcgs Ms 67 Fb Cac 1937 S Mercury Dime 10c Full Band Pq1942/41 D Rare Over Date. Anacs Ef 40 One Day Sale. "(please See Description)""Roll 1944 Mercury Silver Dimes... Ch/gem Bu1940 - 1945 P Mercury Dime Lot Of 50 (1- Roll) *old 90% Silver Coins* (bs10)1942 Mercury Dime Proof ** Blast White Brightly Reflective Beauty!1941-s Mercury Dime Pcgs Ms66fb Full Bands Omaha Bank HoardSet Collection Silver Roosevelt Dimes (complete To 1964d) #1023-9Rare 1943 D 10c Ngc Ms 66 Fb Mercury Head Dime Full Band Excellent Luster Unc NrLot Of 50 Mercury Dimes1917 P Mercury Dime; Early Date Hi Grade Fsb; Brilliant Frosty Coin1923 S Mercury Dime1929 Mercury Dime, Full Split Bands, ** Free Shipping!1916-d Mercury Silver Dime -rare Key Date! **pcgs Certified Genuine Ag Details**72 Mercury Dimes From 1916-1945 In Deluxe Whitman Album -all Nice Coins- Id#c176Set Of Silver Mercury Dimes, 90% Silver, Circulated, 1916-1945 Bulk Lot Of 50 Mercury Winged Liberty Dimes 1 Full Roll $5 Face Value 90% Silver1916-d 10c Mercury DimeSet Colection Silver Mercury Dimes (missing '16d &'21 & D And '42 Ovr 41)#1023-81923 Split Bands Ms+++++ Mercury Dime From Big Collection1942 Mercury Dime Pcgs Ms66fb Full Bands 1942-s Mercury Dime Ngc Ms65 Gold Cac Rainbow Toned ~gem ~old Fat Slab1921 Mercury Dime! Beautifully Toned! Ef Details! Mintage Of Just 1,230,000!