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 10c Mercury Dime - 17151916-d 10c Mercury Dime - 17161942/1 Pcgs Vf25 Key Date Mercury Dime 1916-d Mercury Dime, Rare Key Date ** Free Shipping!Mercury Dime Set In Whitman Folder---complete Minus 1916-d---76 CoinsComplete Mercury Dime Set 1916-1945 No 41/42 Average Circulated To Bu In Folder1943 Mercury Dime Ngc Ms66 Rainbow Toned ~ Colorful Toning~ Old Fat Slab1916-d Mercury Dime, Anacs G-4, Very Strong Coin For This GradeOriginal Bank Wrapped 1942 S Uncirculated Mercury Dime Roll!!!!1927-s Mercury 10 Cents - Full Bands - Outstanding UncirculatedRoll 1944 Mercury Silver Dimes... Ch/gem Bu1919 Mercury Dime, Key Date ** Free Shipping!1916-d 10c Mercury Dime1921-d Mercury Dime--key Date--nice Attractive FineRare 1942/1 Mercury Dime Coin Philadelphia Mint Key Date Overdate Error1937 D Ngc Ms66fb Gem Mercury Dime 1916-d 10c -- Mercury Dime 1916 - Silver - Circulated1916 D Mercury Dime 10c Pcgs **g6** Denver *key Date* Rare!!!1942/1 D Mercury Dime Lightly Circulated Key Date Overdate Variety Us Coin 1921-d Mercury Dime - Good Details A Roll Of 50 Silver Mercury Dimes G To Au Condition1921-d Mercury Dime! Free Shipping!1921-d Mercury Dime (g 04) Pcgs359 Silver Mercury Dimes1939 10c Mercury Dime Pf 67* - Ngc Graded - Star Blast White1916-s Mercury Dime, Full Split Bands, ** Nice First Year Issue! * Free ShippingRoll Lot Of 50 Mercury Dimes 90% Silver1921-d Mercury Dime--about GoodUncirculated 1934-d Silver Mercury Dime Free Shipping1939 Mercury Dime Ngc Proof 67 Cameo Pop 15, 1 FinerKey Date 1916-d Mercury Dime, Pcgs G-04Set Of Mercury Silver Dimes 1941 To 1945 (15 Coins).. Ch/gem BuMercury 90% Silver Dimes 30 Coin Lot = 2.1702 Ounces Of Pure SilverMercury Dimes 1926-d, 1929-s, 1930-s, 1931-d, 1931-s, 1945-s Micro S, Nice CoinsMercury Dime Collection/set, Only One Missing, 90% Silver, Looks GoodRoll 1945 Mercury Silver Dimes.. Ch/gem Bu1937 Mercury Dime Pcgs Certified Ms 66 Fb ~ Full Bands * Blast White Gem! *1936 D United States Mercury Dime 101921-d Mercury Dime--nice Very Good1944 Mercury Silver Dime Old Green Holder **pcgs Certified Ms 66 ** Stunning!1918-d Mercury Dime - About Uncirculated Details 1921-d Mercury Dime 101919 Mercury Dime, Full Split Bands, ** Pleasing Coin! ** Free Shipping!Lot Of 17 Mercury Dimes - Collectable American Silver Currancy - Silver Coins1939 D Mercury Dime Uncirculated1920 Mercury Dime! Free Shipping!1918-p Mercury Dime - About Uncirculated Details *a Stunning 1944-d Mercury Dime - Ms-67 Fb Ngc Graded*(14) 1917-1945 S Mercury Liberty Head Silver Dimes - (13) Bu W/ 1917 - E 111501921 Mercury Head Dime A Good Coin1921 Mercury Dime1916 D / S ??? Mercury Dime Possible 1916 D - But Selling As 1916 S 90% SilverBarber Mercury Roosevelt Dime Lot Of 9 Silver Coins1921-d Mercury Dime - About Good Details / Reverse Scratches 1921 P Mercury Dime 90% Silver Rare Almost Good Key Date #2930 Glcw1921 Mercury Dime ** Tough Date! ** Free Shipping!Mercury Dimes 1918-d,1920-d,1924-d,1925-d,1926-d,1927-d Lot Of 6 Silver Coins Nr1923 Ms66fb (full Separated Bands) Mercury Dime Pcgs/cac Certified - Colorful$30 Face 90% Silver Mercury Roosevelt Dime Washington Quarter Roll Lot Pre 19641916 - 1945 Mercury Dimes