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Mercury Head Dimes

This post is dedicated to the Mercury Head Dimes and here we will talk about information about it, show images and more related to this great coin.  By the way if you didn’t know already it also goes by its other name of Winged Head Dime.  The origin is in the fact that the Barber series was thought to need a replacement and therefore artists competed for this job.  Those that submitted designs include: Victor David Brenner, Charles Barber, Hermon MacNeil and the sculptor who got the job: Adolph Weinman.

Artists generally would use models to create the face of Lady Liberty on various coins and generally we know who they are.  Mercury Head Dimes is one where Weinman never said who it was nor did the model herself claim to be it.    The design itself depicts Lady Liberty wearing a winged cap (which for those familiar with Greek Mythology explains how it got its name).  It is actually a Phrygian cap whose origins go back to the time of the Roman Empire and whose meaning is freedom as well as liberty.  The back of these silver American coins have an image of a fasces which are a sticks attached together with a blade at the top.  This is a symbol that means that there is power in unification.

Mercury Head Dimes were struck starting in 1916 and ending in 1945 (except for 1922, 1932 and 1933) after which the Roosevelt 10 cents piece was made to honor the late President.  They are 90% silver and specifically have .07234 ounces or 2.0508045 of the precious metal in their metal make up.  The diameter of one of these coins is 17.9 millimeters.

The silver Mercury Head Dime does certainly have some key dates most notably the 1916D which in just good condition is worth at least $1000.  When talking about uncirculated grades for a 1916 Denver the price can go into the 5 figures.    Three other key dates to keep an eye out for are the 1921 Philadelphia (no mint mark) as well as the 1921 D and the 1926 S.
Below are mintage figures.

1916- 22,180,080
1916D- 264,000
1917- 55,230,000
1917S- 27,330,000
1917D- 9,402,000
1918S- 19,300,00
1918D- 22,674,800
1919S- 8,850,000
1919D- 9,939,000
1920- 59,030,000
1920S- 13,820,000
1920D- 19,171,000
1921- 1,230,000
1921D- 1,080,000
1923- 50,130,000
1923S- 6,440,000
1924- 24,010,000
1924s- 7,120,000
1924D- 6,810,000
1925- 25,610,000
1925S- 5,850,000
1925D- 5,117,000
1926- 32,160,000
1926S- 1,520,000
1926D- 6,828,000
1927- 28,080,000
1927S- 4,770,000
1927D- 4,812,000
1928- 19,480,000
1928S- 7,400,000
1928D- 4,161,000
1929- 25,970,000
1929S- 4,730,000
1929D- 5,034,000
1930- 6,770,000
1930S- 1,843,000
1931- 3,150,000
1931S- 1,8000,000
1931D- 1,260,000
1934- 24,080,000
1934D- 6,772,000
1935- 58,830,00
1935S- 15,840,000
1935D- 10,477,000
1936- 87,500,000
1936S- 9,210,000
1936D- 16,132,000
1937- 56,860,000
1937S- 9,740,000
1937D- 14,146,000
1938- 22,190,000
1938S- 8,090,000
1938D- 5,537,000
1939- 67,740,000
1939S- 10,540,000
1939D- 24,394,000
1940- 65,350,000
1940D- 21,198,000
1941- 175,090,000
1941S- 43,090,000
1941D- 45,634,000
1942- 205,410,000
1942S- 49,300,000
1942D- 60,740,000
1943- 191,710,000
1943S- 60,400,000
1943D- 71,949,000
1944- 231,410,000
1944S- 49,490,000
1944D- 62,224,000
1945- 159,130,000
1945S- 41,920,000
1945D- 40,245,000

There are a couple of noteworth errors in the silver Mercury Head Dimes series which happened in 1942.  In the Philadelphia mint there was a 2 struck over 1 in the year on the front of the coin.  In the Denver mint that year there is also the same error.  Either one is quite valuable.


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