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 - 1945 Pds Mint U.s. Silver Mercury Dime Set In Dansco Album! Missing 16d!1916 D Mercury Head Dime Ag3 Slabbed / Graded Ngc - Key Date1935-d Mercury Dime Pcgs Ms66fb Cac Rainbow Toned ~ Colorful Toning~ Rare Fb1916-d Mercury Dime, Slabbed & Graded Fr2, AnacsRoll 1942 Mercury Silver Dimes.. Ch/gem Bu1916-d Mercury 10 Cents Good Very Rare Key Date!1942/1 10c Ngc/cac Au58 - Scarce Overdate Variety Mercury Dime - No Reserve!1942/1 10c Pcgs/cac Vf30 - Scarce Overdate Variety Mercury Dime - No Reserve!1916-d Mercury Dime 10c - Pcgs P/fr Details - Certified *no Reserve!Roll 1941 Mercury Silver Dimes.. Ch/gem Bu1929 Mercury Dime, Full Split Bands, ** Free Shipping!Roll 1944 Mercury Silver Dimes... Ch/gem BuRoll 1943-d Mercury Silver Dimes.. Ch/gem BuFull Roll Of 50 Silver Mercury Dimes G To Au 1942-p Mercury Dime 10c Pcgs Pr66Mercury Head Dimes Collection 1916 To 1945 Book - 69 Silver Coins In All1916-d Mercury Dime - Key Date !!!Roll 1943 Mercury Silver Dimes.. Ch/gem Bu50 Coin Asst Mercury Dimes Good To Au Lots Of Variety - Silver 1917-s Mercury Dime ** Very Nice! ** Free Shipping!1921 Semi-key Mercury Dime, Pcgs F-12, Choice & Original (estatesale Is Now Dkrc1940 D Pcgs Ms66fb Gem Colorful Toned Mercury Dime 1924 P Mercury Dime Pcgs Ms66fb - SilverUncirculated 1916-s Silver Mercury Dime Free S/h!!!1921-d Anacs G-4 Silver Mercury Dime Us Coin - 99c No Reserve!1936-s/1939-d Silver Mercury Dimes Au 58 Pcgs. 2 Silver Coins!!1921 Mercury Dime Good Condition 1916 Mercury Dime Free S/h!!!Roll 1945 Mercury Silver Dimes.. Ch/gem Bu1921 Mercury Dime Very Fine Condition Nice !!! 1921 D Mercury Dime1925 D Mercury Dime Vf-xf1935 & 1937 Mercury Dimes Pcgs Ms65 Full Bands(1) 1934-d Mercury Silver Dime Ch/gem BuUncirculated 1929-d Silver Mercury Dime Free S/h1924 S Mercury Dime; Scarce Tougher Date Higher Grade1940-s Mercury Dime ** Free Shipping!1940-d Mercury Dime ** Free Shipping!1940 D Bu Gem Mercury Dime Coin #953 $unc/ms++$ Us Mint$rare1926-s Mercury Dime ** Free Shipping!Uncirculated 1938-d Silver Mercury Dime Free Shipping1938-d Mercury Dime ** Free Shipping!Genuine 1921-d Key Date Silver Mercury Silver 10c.1945 Micro S Silver Mercury Dime Error Variety Ngc Gem Ms651916 Mercury Dime! Free Shipping!1921-d Mercury Dime Good Condition Nice !!! 1941 S Mercury Dime Ngc Ms65(star)fb (2043577-044)1921-d Mercury Dime Ag Condition 1918 Mercury Dime Uncirculated1937-d Mercury Dime - Ngc Ms68fb1916d Mercury Dime /bonus Silver Dimes1921 Vf/xf Mercury Silver 10c Dime Id# X6881944-d 10c Mercury Dime Ms67 Ngc Fb Full Bands Rare High GradeGenuine 1921-p And 1921-d Key Date Mercury Silver 10c.1939 S Mercury Silver Dime Ngc Ms 66 Pq ++ Blast White !!! Tough Date !!! A Roll Of 50 Silver Mercury Dimes G To Au ConditionPartial Mercury Dime Set 1916-1945 - From Jt Stanton's Cherrypickercoins-31041936-d Mercury Dime Full Bands 10c - Pcgs Ms65fb Certified & Graded *no Reserve Uncirculated 1936-s Silver Mercury Dime Free S/h!!!1921 Mercury Dime Fine Md126