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    

500 Mercury Silver Dimes1916-d Mercury Dime (ag-03) Pcgs And Old Green Holder!!! Scarce!!!1916-d Mercury Dime No Reserve!Mercury Dime Set In Whitman Album---complete Minus 1916-d1941-1945 P D S Mercury Silver Dime 15 Coin Set Au/bu (7642)10c 1916-d Mercury Dime, Pcgs G6, Key Date! * Avenuecoin1945-s Mercury Dime, Choice Gem Full Split Bands!1916-d Pcgs Fr02 Key Date Mercury Silver 10c.Anacs Ms66 Fsb 1931 D Gem Bu Pq Mercury Dime .9 Silver Bullion Unc Coin Collect1920-d Mercury Dime, Full Split Bands, Super Lustrous Pq Beauty, ** Fsb!1919-s 10c Mercury Dime Ngc Ms 661941-1945 P D S Mercury Silver Dime 15 Coin Set Au/bu (7641)Mercury Dime Set Of 77 Coins Include 1921 And 1921-d! Premium Grades!1921 D Mercury Dime $0.10Circulated 1926-s San Francisco Mint Silver Mercury Dime Free Shipping1939 Pr66 (proof) Mercury Dime Pcgs/cac Certified Gem - Early Holder - Nice !1943-s Ms67fb (full Separated Bands) Mercury Dime Pcgs Certified Gem !1936-s Winged Liberty Head Mercury Dime Ngc Ms 66 Fb1941-s Ms67fb (full Separated Bands) Mercury Dime Pcgs Certified Gem !10c 1942/1 Mercury Dime, Pcgs Vf25, Overdate! * AvenuecoinUnited States Mercury Dime Set - Capital Plastics Stored1917-s 10c Fb Mercury Dime Ngc Ms 66 FbFull Roll Ofd Nice Circulated 1931 Mercury Dimes: 50 Coins1916 D Mercury Dime....you Can See A Shape Of A ...d... If You Look With A Loop!Uncirculated 1920-s San Francisco Mint Silver Mercury Dime Free ShippingNgc Ms 66 Fb 1935 S Gem Bu Pq Mercury Dime .9 Silver Bullion Unc Coin CollectUncirculated 1927-s San Francisco Mint Silver Mercury Dime Free Shipping1921 D Mercury Dime1942 D Ngc Ms66 Fb Gem Colorful Toned Mercury Dime In An Old Holder Mercury Dime Set In Harris Folder---complete Minus 1916-dPcgs Ms64 1917 D Gem Bu Pq Mercury Dime .9 Silver Bullion Unc Coin Fsb Collect10c 1942/1-d Mercury Dime, Pcgs Vf25, Overdate! * AvenuecoinUncirculated 1938-d Denver Mint Silver Mercury Dime Free Shipping1918-s Mercury Dime 10c Fsb **au** Us Coin "rare" !!!!!1938 Ms67fb (full Separated Bands) Mercury Dime Ngc Certified Superb Gem !1935 Ms67fb (full Separated Bands) Mercury Dime Ngc Certified Gem - Very Nice !Coinhunters-1916-1945-p,d&s Mercury Silver Dime Partial Set-59 Coins, Ag-auPcgs Ms 65 1916 Mercury DimeLot Of 12 Nice Mercury Dimes - 1931 S, 1937, 1940 Ps, Etc.Uncirculated 1925 Philadelphia Mint Silver Mercury Dime Free Shipping1921-d 10c Mercury Dime1941-d Pcgs Mercury Dime, Full Split Bands, Pcgs Ms 65 Fb ** Free Shipping!Roll 1943 Mercury Silver Dimes.. Ch/gem Bu1917 Ms66 Mercury Dime Pcgs Certified Gem !1935 Ms67fb (full Separated Bands) Mercury Dime Ngc Certified Gem - Super Nice !Beautiful Lot Of 25, 1/2 Roll, Au+ Mercury Dimes!! Mixed Dates And Mint Marks!1923 Mercury Dime, Full Split Bands! ** Free Shipping!1919- D-- Mercury Dime - High Grade - Very Nice1921-d Mercury Dime 1940 Mercury Dime, Beautifully Toned!Roll 1944 Mercury Silver Dimes... Ch/gem BuRoll Of 50 Choice/gem Bu 1937 Mercury Dimes- Ms Coins1931 Mercury Dime Good To Fine (39 Coins) 90 % Silver (2)1921-d Mercury Dime--solid Coin--ngc Vg-101916-s San Francisco Mint 90% Silver Mercury Dime Circulated Coin (c36) Nice!!!1938-s Mercury Dime......very High End Fsb Gem Bu!..........no Reserve!Uncirculated 1917 Philadelphia Mint Silver Mercury Dime Free ShippingKey Date Silver Mercury Dimes 1921 1921-d 1926-s Raw Coins No Reserve!1928 D Mercury Silver Dime #6331 $ High Grade Coin Us Mint Rare Key Date Estate1925 D Mercury Dime (scarcer & Attractive)