Mercury Dime, Coin Type from United States - detailed information

Mercury Dime, Coin Type from United States (issued 1916 - 1945)
Coin TypeMercury Dime

The dime, in United States usage, is a ten-cent coin (10¢), one tenth of a United States dollar, labelled formally as "one dime". After the half dime became five cents in 1873, the dime is now the only United States coin in general circulation that is not denominated in terms of dollars or cents.

The denomination exists since the introduction of US currency. It was initially a larger silver coin featuring the draped bust of Liberty (1796 - 1807), then a smaller capped bust of Liberty (1809 - 1837), then with a Seated Liberty obverse (1837 - 1891) which was in turn replaced by the Barber Dime (1892 - 1916).

The so-called Mercury Dime was introduced in 1916. Designed by Adolph Weinman and also referred to as the Winged Liberty Head Dime, it gained its common name because the obverse depiction of a young Liberty, identifiable by her winged Phrygian cap, was confused with the Roman god Mercury. The coin's reverse depicts a fasces - a Roman simbol of authority, unity and strength, and an olive branch signifying peace. Its composition, like that of earlier dimes, is 90% silver and 10% copper.

The coin continued to be minted until 1945, when the Treasury ordered that a new design, featuring recently deceased president Franklin Roosevelt, take its place. In later years, the composition of the dime was debased to copper-nickel, and silver coinage disappeared from circulation. However, these coins have never been demonetised and are still legal tender. This, of course, is of academic interest only, as their numismatic and bullion value is much higher than their face value.

Obverse
United States / Mercury Dime - obverse photo

Within a plain rim, the obverse of the coin shows a portrait of Miss Liberty facing left, the tight curls of her hair caught in a Phrygian cap (pileus) which is winged. The coin is known as the Mercury Dime because of the resemblance of this portrait with depictions of Mercury, the Roman god of commerce and communications.

Around above in large letters, the word LIBERTY is partly obscured by the top of the cap.

On two lines below left, the national motto IN · GOD WE · TRUST.

The designer's monogram AW (for Adolph Weinman) is in the field below right, between the Y of LIBERTY and last digit of the date.

Below right, under the neck truncation of the portrait, the date: [year].

Obverse Inscription LIBERTY IN · GOD WE · TRUST [year]
Reverse
United States / Mercury Dime - reverse photo

Within a plain rim, the reverse of the coin depicts at its centre a bundle of "fasces" (sticks) wrapped around an axe and bound both horizontally and diagonally by a leather strap, with the loose ends at the bottom. This object was carried by the lictors (assistants) who accompanied a Roman magistrate and was a symbol of his powers - sticks for his authority to inflict corporal punishment, and the axe for his authority to issue a death sentence. Incidentally, the word "fasces" is the root of the word "fascism" - an ideology which took it as a symbol of the State's power to establish law and order.

On this coin, the symbol represents war and justice. It is contrasted with a large olive branch as a symbol of peace.

The lettering is in Roman style; around above, UNITED · STATES · OF · AMERICA; separated from this by two five-pointed stars, and divided by the bottom part of the fasces, the value and denomination ONE DIME. In the right field, on two lines the motto E · PLURIBUS UNUM ("Out of many, one" - signifying unity in diversity).

Coins struck by the Philadelphia Mint have no mint mark. Coins struck by other mints have a mint mark in the form of a small letter below the base of the olive branch, after the letter E of ONE.

Reverse Inscription UNITED · STATES · OF · AMERICA * ONE DIME *
EdgeMilledEdge InscriptionNone
Coin Type: Mercury Dime - (27) Coins
Coin NameMintageSymbolLegend
One Dime 1916 Mercury 32,894,080 Liberty, Mercury LIBERTY IN · GOD WE · TRUST 1916
One Dime 1917 Mercury 91,962,000 Liberty, Mercury LIBERTY IN · GOD WE · TRUST 1917
One Dime 1918 Mercury 68,654,800 Liberty, Mercury LIBERTY IN · GOD WE · TRUST 1918
One Dime 1919 Mercury 54,529,000 Liberty, Mercury LIBERTY IN · GOD WE · TRUST 1919
One Dime 1920 Mercury 92,021,000 Liberty, Mercury LIBERTY IN · GOD WE · TRUST 1920
One Dime 1921 Mercury 2,310,000 Liberty, Mercury LIBERTY IN · GOD WE · TRUST 1921
One Dime 1923 Mercury 56,570,000 Liberty, Mercury LIBERTY IN · GOD WE · TRUST 1923
One Dime 1924 Mercury 37,940,000 Liberty, Mercury LIBERTY IN · GOD WE · TRUST 1924
One Dime 1925 Mercury 36,577,000 Liberty, Mercury LIBERTY IN · GOD WE · TRUST 1925
One Dime 1926 Mercury 40,508,000 Liberty, Mercury LIBERTY IN · GOD WE · TRUST 1926
One Dime 1927 Mercury 37,662,000 Liberty, Mercury LIBERTY IN · GOD WE · TRUST 1927
One Dime 1928 Mercury 31,041,000 Liberty, Mercury LIBERTY IN · GOD WE · TRUST 1928
One Dime 1929 Mercury 35,734,000 Liberty, Mercury LIBERTY IN · GOD WE · TRUST 1929
One Dime 1930 Mercury 8,613,000 Liberty, Mercury LIBERTY IN · GOD WE · TRUST 1930
One Dime 1931 Mercury 6,210,000 Liberty, Mercury LIBERTY IN · GOD WE · TRUST 1931
One Dime 1934 Mercury 30,852,000 Liberty, Mercury LIBERTY IN · GOD WE · TRUST 1934
One Dime 1935 Mercury 85,147,000 Liberty, Mercury LIBERTY IN · GOD WE · TRUST 1935
One Dime 1936 Mercury 112,850,260 Liberty, Mercury LIBERTY IN · GOD WE · TRUST 1936
One Dime 1937 Mercury 80,757,512 Liberty, Mercury LIBERTY IN · GOD WE · TRUST 1937
One Dime 1938 Mercury 35,834,456 Liberty, Mercury LIBERTY IN · GOD WE · TRUST 1938
One Dime 1939 Mercury 102,692,642 Liberty, Mercury LIBERTY IN · GOD WE · TRUST 1939
One Dime 1940 Mercury 108,131,654 Liberty, Mercury LIBERTY IN · GOD WE · TRUST 1940
One Dime 1941 Mercury 263,847,114 Liberty, Mercury LIBERTY IN · GOD WE · TRUST 1941
One Dime 1942 Mercury 315,494,658 Liberty, Mercury LIBERTY IN · GOD WE · TRUST 1942
One Dime 1943 Mercury 324,059,000 Liberty, Mercury LIBERTY IN · GOD WE · TRUST 1943
One Dime 1944 Mercury 343,124,000 Liberty, Mercury LIBERTY IN · GOD WE · TRUST 1944
One Dime 1945 Mercury 241,295,000 Liberty, Mercury LIBERTY IN · GOD WE · TRUST 1945
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Mercury Dime: Details
CountryUnited States
CurrencyUS Dollar
Sub-type ofOne Dime
From1916
To1945
Face Value10 (x Cent)
CurrentNo
Material0.900 Silver
DesignerAdolph Weinman
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
ShapeRound
OrientationCoin Alignment (Axis 6)
Size17.910 mm
Thickness1.000 mm
Mass2.500 g