The Mercury Dime is more formally known as the Winged Liberty Head Dime. The coin takes its common name for its mistaken resemblance to the Roman Messenger God Mercury. The coin was minted from 1916-1945 at the Denver, Philadelphia, and San Francisco mints. The mint mark is located on the reverse of the coin to the right of the "E" of "ONE."
The designer of the coin was Adolph A. Weinman. The obverse features a profile portrait of Lady Liberty wearing a winged cap to symbolize freedom of thought. On the reverse, a Roman fasces appears in front of an olive branch. Many consider Weinman's design to be one the most beautiful US coin designs of all time.
Many collectors pursue the complete series by date and mint mark, looking for certified examples of high graded coins. The series contains some interesting highlights and an ultra rare key date coin that make Mercury Dimes both a challenge and pleasure to collect.
Key Date 1916-D Mercury DimeThe key date of the series is the 1916-D Mercury Dime. This coin has by far the lowest mintage of the series at only 264,000 coins. The primary reason for the extremely low mintage was that the Denver mint was still predominantly minting Barber Dimes and only managed to produce a limited run for the new series. The low mintage makes the 1916-D so rare that even low grade examples sell for hundreds of dollars. Semi key dates for the series include the 1921 and 1921-D Mercury Dimes.
1942/1 Mercury Dime VarietyThe most notable variety of the series is known as the 1942/1 Mercury Dime also known as the "2 over 1 variety." This was an over date coin where the year 1942 was stamped over a 1941 die. The "1" is very clearly visible underneath the over stamped "2" making this coin a favorite of collectors. Examples exist for both the Denver and Philadelphia mints.
Full Split Bands Mercury Dimes
Full Split Bands Mercury Dimes refer to coins with full horizontal bands tying together the fasces on the reverse of the coin. The bands will only be fully visible on coins exhibiting strong strikes. Grading services use "FB" to designate coins with Full Bands. These coins sell at a premium to coins without Full Bands.