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 Series Key Date Better Circulated Grade Absolutely Genuine1916-d 10c Mercury Silver Coin Anacs Ef40 Details **the Key Date**1916 D Mercury Dime1942 Over 41 Us Mercury Dime In Ngc Uncirculated Condition1923-s Mercury Dime, Full Split Bands, Very Lustrous Solid Gem Bu++ Fsb Key Date1916-d 10c Mercury Dime Fine Plus Near Very Fine Key To The Series Nice & Rare!Lot Of 50 Different Date Silver Mercury Dimes, 1916-1945-s No Reserve, Free ShipUnsearched !! Mercury Dimes[p&s] "capped Both Ends" Roll 50-coins1916 - D Mercury Dime Cleaned Anacs Ag3 Details - Key Date Coin!!!1916d 1916 D Rare Key Date Us Silver Mercury Dime Strong Date & Detail Coin 74 Piece Collection Set Mercury Dimes Compelte 1916 To 1945 W/no 1916 D 1921-p,d1918 Pcgs Ms63 Fb Mercury Dime1917-d Mercury Dime, Full Split Bands, Razor Sharp Superb Gem Bu++ Fsb Key Date!1924-d Denver Mint Silver Mercury Dime Free Shipping76 Coin Date Set Of Mercury Dimes, 1916-1945 In Blue Whitman Album!!1921 D Mercury Dime Vf-Mercury 90% Silver Dimes (13-rolls) 650 Total Dimes Mixed Dates And Mints74 Coin Mercury Dime Collection. Circ Set Silver Coins In Folder. No 1921 1916-d1921-d Mercury Dime (xf Details Cleaning) Pcgs$5 Mercury Dimes - 90% Silver 50-coin Roll Good Or BetterUnsearched !! Mercury Dimes[p&d] "capped Both Ends" Roll 25-silver-coins1917 Mercury Dime, Full Split Bands ** Free Shipping!1916 Mercury Dime, Sharp Full Split Bands, Fsb1916 D Mercury Dime 100% Original Vg In Grade Series Key Date No CleaningRare 1916-d Silver Mercury Dime … Grades “fair” Unsearched!! Mercury Dime Roll Capped With Barber Dimes On Both Ends - R736Full Roll Of Silver Mercury Dimes Dates From 1916 To 1945 1916-s Mercury Dime, Sharp First Year Date, Gem Bu ** Free Shipping!1917-d Mercury Dime ** Free Shipping!1918-d Mercury Dime ** Free Shipping!Huge Estate Lot 114 Silver Mercury Dimes 1916 To 1945 - See Pics - No Reserve1921-d Mercury Dime Vg Key Date Scratch Original!Uncirculated 1923-s San Francisco Mint Silver Mercury Dime Free Shipping1921 D Mercury Dime Nice 1921-d Mercury Cime1924 P Mercury DimeLot Of 100 Mercury Dimes 90% Silver - Different Years Mix Lot Mostly 40s1921-d Mercury Dime, Desired Key Date, ** Free Shipping!1921-d Mercury Dime, Well Sought After Key Date, ** Free Shipping!Roll Of 50 Mercury Silver Dimes Mixed Dates & Conditions (a46)1943-d 10c Fb Mercury Dime Pcgs Ms66fb1916 Mercury / And 1878 Seated Dime Showing On Ends Of Old Window Dime Roll1917-s Mercury Silver Dime Choice Uncirculated+ * Us Coin *1940-d Ngc Mercury Dime, Full Split Bands Ngc Ms 66 Fb ** Free Shipping!1944-d Pcgs Mercury Dime, Full Split Bands, Pcgs Ms 66 Fb ** Free Shipping!Roll Of 50 Mercury Dimes Mixed Dates Lots Of Mint Luster!1926-d Mercury Dime ** Free Shipping!1921-d Silver Mercury Dime Coin. Cracked Die Error. Unique Rare Variety.Bulk Lot Of 1455 Mercury Dimes 90% Silver United States Coins Circulated1916 - 1945 Mercury Dime Set 75 Coins Almost Complete In Whitman Folder 1945-d / Horizontal D Mercury Dime, Pcgs Au58 Cac, Fs-506 Davidkahnrarecoins Roll Of Mercury Dimes 50-coins Teens And 20's-lot Includes A 1916 And 1916-s Full Roll Of 50 Silver Mercury Dimes G To Au 1917-d 10c Mercury Silver Dime Ch-bu1939 D Ms66fb Mercury Silver Dime! Certified Full Bands No ReserveU.s. Mercury Dime Uncirculated Short Set 1941 Pds-1945 Pds - Free Shipping!1919 Ngc Ms 62 Mercury Dime1924 Philadelphia Mint Silver Mercury Dime Free Shipping1916 Mercury Dime, Full Split Bands, Sharp Gem Bu Fsb ** Free Shipping!1916 Silver Mercury Dime