One of the most popular and best-loved coins of the twentieth century from the United States Mint would have to be the silver Mercury Dime. Minted between 1916-1945, these coins are popular among both new and seasoned collectors. They are loved their beauty, as well as their values – both numismatic and intrinsic or melt.
Despite having mintages in the millions, some key dates of the silver Mercury Dime, also known as the "Winged Liberty Head Dime," can actually be worth thousands of dollars to the right collector. Even Mercury Dimes in poor condition can fetch several dollars at auction or from local coin dealers, reminding one never to discount their numismatic values even at lower grade levels.
Mercury Dime Silver Melt Values
The intrinsic value of the silver Mercury Dimes can be just as variable. Simply stated, the term "intrinsic" means the current value of the metals contained within a coin if it was melted down. As each of these coins is struck from a composition of 90% silver, their melt values will fluctuates with the current spot price of the precious metal. For example, the average spot of an ounce of silver for the year 2000 was $4.95 an ounce. This meant the melt value of the silver dime was actually worth $.36, or roughly 3.5 times its face value. Flash forward to 2009 where the precious metal averaged a much higher $14.67 an ounce. For that year, each Mercury Dime had an intrinsic value average of $1.06.
One of the best places to determine the current value of these strikes is from local coin dealers or auction sites. When looking at the cost, it is important to take into account both what the numismatic value of the coin might be as well as its melt value. The online auction site eBay has literally thousands of listings at any given time for Mercury Dimes, which makes it a good resource to find current prices. Some of those listings are shown below:
Silver Mercury Dime Information
Often called by its nickname of Mercury, the 1916-1945 Silver Winged Liberty Head Dime does not actually contain an image of the roman messenger god.
Instead, a portrait of the mythical figure of Liberty is shown on the coin’s obverse. Liberty is wearing Phrygian cap, long seen as a symbol of freedom and liberty. The wings on the cap were included to portray the idea of freedom of thought. However, after it was first introduced into circulation, many incorrectly assumed the design was that of the roman god Mercury.
Despite its incorrect interpretation, the design is regarded by many as one of the most beautiful to ever grace a coin of the United States. It was the work of noted sculptor Adolph A. Weinman, whose name is not unknown to most coin collectors. Weinman was also responsible for the design of the Walking Liberty Half Dollar Coin which appeared from 1916-1947 and is also considered one of the most beautiful in U.S. history.
The reverse of the Mercury Dime shows a fasces (bundle of sticks with an ax blade emerging from them) with an olive branch wrapped around it. The design was meant to symbolize the nation’s interest in peace while still being ready for any war.
1916-1945 Silver Mercury Dime Specifications
|Composition:||90% silver, 10% copper|
|Minting Facility:||Philadelphia (no mintmark), Denver (D) & San Francisco (S)|
|Obverse Design:||portrait of winged Liberty|
|Obverse Designer:||Adolph A. Weinman|
|Reverse Design:||fasces with an intertwining olive branch|
|Reverse Designer:||Adolph A. Weinman|