The reaction against the lack of beauty in American coinage at the turn of the 20th century resulted in some of the finest designs in American coinage history. From the $20 Saint-Gaudens double eagle to the Walking Liberty half dollar, American coins received full redesigns in the early 20th century. Those beautiful designs even made their way down to the tiny dime, with the result of creating one of the most iconic coins ever minted in the US.
The Mercury dime was designed by famous sculptor Adolph Weinman, who also designed the Walking Liberty half dollar. While the obverse featured a portrait of Liberty wearing a winged cap, the image was popularly confused with the Roman god Mercury, who also was commonly depicted wearing a winged cap. The reverse features a fasces, signifying unity and strength, as well as olive branches symbolizing peace.
The Mercury dime quickly became popular with the American public and is still one of the best known coin designs ever made. The coins were minted from 1916 to 1945, although not in all years and not at every mint each year. Of particular note are the 1923-D and 1930-D examples, from years in which the Denver Mint did not mint any dimes. Those specimens are counterfeits, alleged to have been minted in the Soviet Union. Very few examples are known, and as a result those counterfeits are very valuable to collectors of counterfeit coinage.
Over the course of its production nearly 2.7 billion Mercury dimes were minted. While many were melted down for their silver over the years, many still remain. As with most junk silver coinage today, premiums are much higher than they were even 10 years ago. Expect to pay premiums of 20-25% over the spot price of silver.
Like many older circulating coins, the Mercury dime is not eligible for investment through a silver IRA or precious metals IRA. But if you’re looking to collect one of the most beautiful coins ever produced in this country, you can’t go wrong with the Mercury dime.
- Purity: 90% silver
- Weight: 2.50 g
- Silver Content: 0.07234 troy oz.
- Diameter: 17.91 mm
- Thickness: 1.35 mm