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    

10c 1916-d Mercury Dime Anacs Ag3 * Key Date! * 1916-d 10c Silver Mercury Dime Graded1916 D Mercury Dime Slabbed 2 Full Rims *key Date* Superior Eye Appeal! No Res!!Vintage Mercury Silver Dime Set All But1916-d, Low Start, No Reserve, Nice Set!1929-s Mercury Dime, Full Split Bands! ** Beautiful Color! ** Gem Fsb!279 Silver Mercury Dimes28pc Roll Of { 1924 To 1945 } Silver Mercury Dimes { Au+ To Bu }10c 1921-d Mercury Dime Vg Details, Scarce! * AvenuecoinBulk Lot Of 600 Mercury Dimes 90% Silver United States Coins Circulated1939 Mercury Dime - Ngc Proof 67 - Orange Toned & Cac Approved! Nice!!1943 D 10c Pcgs Ms 67 Fb Mercury Dime, Full Split Bands, Scarce Silver BeautyLot Of 10 Rolls Mercury Dimes (200 Coins Total) Circulated Ungraded 90% Silver1926 Mercury Dime, Full Split Bands! ** Lustrous Gem Fsb! ** Free Shipping!1921-d Mercury Silver Dime - Hole FillerOne Thousand (1000) Mercury Silver Dimes.. Au/bu1916 - 45 Mercury Dime Book Collection. Total 76 Dimes- No 1916-d- No ReserveLot Of 48 Mercury Winged Liberty Dimes Nearly 1 Full Roll1920-s Mercury Dime, Full Split Bands, Rare Gem Bu++ Fsb ** Sharp Pq Strike!1916d Mecury Dime1940 Mercury Dime Proof, Blast White Superb Gem Pf++blazer ** Free Shipping!78 Mercury Dimes In 1960 Whitman Album 1916-1945. 90% Silver. Various Dates1921 D Mercury Dime Good1923 Mercury Dime, Full Split Bands!1945-s Mercury Dime - Ngc Ms-68, "cat's Eye" Reverse W/ Trumpet Tail "s" 1929-d 10c Mercury Dime Pcgs Ms66 Beautiful Unusual ToningMercury Head Dime Collection Starting 1916 Whitman Book1941-1945 Mercury Dime Set Choice/bu P-d &s 15 Coin SetNgc Graded 1920-s Mercury Dime Ms62 Fb1921-d Mercury DimeLot/bulk: (25) 90% Silver Mercury Dimes, Mixed Dates - No Reserve1916 Mercury Dime 10c Pcgs Ms 62 Fb1921 D Mercury Dime Lot Of 50 Mercury Dimes Mostly 1930's1943 S Mercury Dime Pcgs Ms67 Cac Toned Gem1917 Mercury Dime, Full Split Bands! ** Gem Fsb! ** Free Shipping!1936-s Mercury Silver Dime ~ Ch/bu+ "full Split Bands"69 No Reserve Early Silver American Dimes1919 1919 D 1919 S Mercury Dime - Nice Circulated Condition - 50saMercury Dime Set In Album 74 Pcs 1916 To 1945 Fine Or Better, No 16d,21p,d Lot Of 50 1942 Mercury Dimes 90% Silver 1 Roll (batch 6)Lot Of (4) 1936 And 1939 10c Pcgs Ms 66 Mercury Dimes Gem+ Uncirculated Silver1921 D Mercury Dime - Circulated Condition - 53sa(2) Mercury Dimes 1921 & 1921-d 14 Mercury Dimes 1916, 1916-s, 1917, 1917-d, 1917-s, 1918, 1918-d, 1818-s, 19191921-d Mercury Dime- Semi-key !! Very Good !! #c6129Mercury Dime Lot Of 30 In Vintage Dime Saver. Low Starting Price, No Reserve!1942 Mercury Dime Pcgs Ms67 Cac Toned Gem1936-s Winged Liberty Head Mercury Dime 10 Cents Ngc Ms 66 Fb1945-s Mercury Dime Pcgs Ms-64 Toned Silver1916 Silver Mercury Dime 10c Philadelphia Full Bands Lustrous Free ShippingSet Of Mercury Silver Dimes 1934 To 1945 (35 Coins).. Ch/gem Bu90% Silver Mercury Dimes 200 For $20 Face ValueBulk Lot Of 50 Mercury Winged Liberty Dimes 1 Full Roll $5 Face Value 90% SilverMercury Dimes Silver 50 Lot 4.28 Oz 1923-1945 $5.00 Face 1 One Roll Coins1918-d Ms63 Mercury Dime Pcgs Certified - Lightly Toned- Great Coin !1937 Mercury Dime 10c Pcgs Ms 66 Fb1921-d Mercury Dime1921d Silver Mercury DimeLot Of 20 1930's Us Mercury Dimes1916 10c Mercury Dime Fb Ngc Ms 65 Full Bands