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 Xf 1916-d Mercury Dime No Reserve 1916-d Key Date Mercury Head Dime Rare!1916 D Mercury Dime " Ag " 90% Silver 1916 D Mercury Dime*very Nice 1916-d Mercury Dime "key Date" - Estate Fresh*1944-d Mercury Dime, Full Pcgs Ms 67+ Fb ** Very Scarce This Nice, 68 Pg: $1000!1916-d 10c Mercury Head Dime Key To The Series Good Near Very Good Details Rare!1942/1 Mercury Dime, Avidly Pursued Xf++ Key Date Mint Error, ** Free Shipping!1942/41 Mercury Dime, Highly Desired Choice Bu++ Key Date Mint Error, Free S/h!1916 D 10c Ngc Ag 3 Mercury Silver Dime, Scarce, Key Date Coin, Problem FreeComplete Set Of Mercury Dimes 1916-1945 Except 1916d, 1921, 1921d - 77 Dimes1916 To 1945 Mercury Head Dime Collection. 76 Of 77 Coins.1917-d Mercury Dime, Full Split Bands, Super Nice Solid Gem Bu++ Fsb Better DateMercury Dime Collection In Book, Includes 1916-d, 90% Silver, $7.70 Face1926-d Mercury Dime, Full Split Bands, Sharp Solid Gem Bu++ Fsb Better Date!1918-d Mercury Dime, Full Split Bands, Scarce Choice Bu++ Fsb Key Date!1927-d Denver Mint Silver Mercury Dime. High Grade.*super Lot (5) 1921-d & (3) 1921 Mercury Dimes "key Dates" - Estate Fresh*Bu Super-gem 1916-p Fsb Mercury Dime From Original Roll. No Reserve1945 S Pcgs Ms64 Colorful Toned Mercury Dime In An Old Rattler HolderUncirculated 1931-s San Francisco Mint Silver Mercury Dime Free Shipping1916-45(p,d,s) Set Of Mercury Dimes "circ/unc" *free S/h After 1st Item*1923-s Mercury Silver 10 Cents Near Choice Uncirculated Full Bands1926-s Mercury Silver Dime Nearly Uncirculated Key Date!90% Silver Mercury Dimes. Roll Of 50 $5 Face Value. All Teens Thru 30s!1934 Mercury Dime, Full Split Bands Pcgs Ms 65 Fb ** Tougher This Nice, Free S/h1916 D Mercury Head Dime Liberty , Nice Us Key Date Type CoinThree (3) Sets Of Mercury Silver Dimes 1941 To 1945 (15 Coins).. Ch/gem BuOne Unsearched - Mercury Silver Dime Roll 50 Dimes - 1916 1945 P D S (23)1931-s Mercury 10c Pcgs Graded Ms64 Pretty Blazer! Free Shipping, Never Tax!!1937 Pcgs Mercury Dime, Full Split Bands, Pcgs Ms 66 Fb ** Free Shipping!1919 Mercury 10c Pcgs Graded Ms65fb Pretty Original! Free Shipping, Never Tax!!1916 And 1921 Mercury Dime Showing On Old Window RollMercury Dimes 1916-19451916 Mercury Dime, Full Split Bands, Gem Bu Fsb ** Free Shipping!1929-s Mercury Dime - Better "s" Mint Date, Looks Choice+, Nicely Toned Ngc Ms621939 Mercury Dime, Full Split Bands, Gem Bu Fsb1942/41 10c Mercury Dime Ngc Vf35 #3583596-011Lot Of 72 Silver Mercury Dimes Partial Set - 1916-1945 In Whitman Folder1936-s Ms66fb Mercury Silver Dime * Gem Bu * Pcgs Cert. *** Full BandsMonster Toner Gem Bu Pcgs 1942 D Ms 67 Fb Silver Mercury Dime Fsb Pq Unc Blazer90% Silver Mercury Dimes. Roll Of 50 $5 Face Value. Mixed Dates!1917 10c Mercury Dime. Pcgs Ms64fbMercury Dime Lot ~ 25 Silver Dimes1943-d Ngc Mercury Dime, Full Split Bands, Ngc Ms 65 Fb Cac ** Free Shipping!*very Nice Assorted Lot Of (176) Mercury Dimes - Estate Fresh*1916d? Mercury/ Liberty Dime1936-d Pcgs Mercury Dime, Full Split Bands, Pcgs Ms 65 Fb ** Swirling Luster!1921-d 10c Mercury Dime1917 Mercury Dime, Full Split Bands, Gem Bu++ Fsb, Tough This Nice, ** Free S/h!1916-d Mercury Dime Beautiful Coin Extremely Rare Date Lot Of 5 High Rated Mercury Dimes -all Sealed And Slabbed Mercury Dimes Uncirculated Roll Mixed Dates And Mint Marks 50 Coins 1942/41 P Mercury Dime, Key Overdate, Some Rim Toning ** No Reserve ** D6351937 Ms67fb Mercury Silver Dime * Gem Bu * Pcgs Cert. * High Grade Full Bands1942-p 10c Mercury Dime Pcgs Pr65 #81096050Roll Of Mercury Dimes (50) Coins U.s.90% Silver Mixed Dates And Mint Marks1931-s Mercury Dime Tough In Ms, Pleasing Original, Near Gem Old Ana Holder Ms6390% Silver Mercury Dimes. Roll Of 50 $5 Face Value. All Dated 1944!1916 Mercury Dime......gem Bu/fsb..........min. Bid .01 & No Reserve!