Mercury Dime: One of the Best Collections to Start

Coin collecting is a fun hobby that is easy to start. The supplies you’ll need are also reasonable. The history in coin collecting is a great teacher to adults and children alike. Our parents and grandparents remember these coins as the every day standard. Talking to them about what life was like when old coins were minted puts an added value to your collection.

The hunt is half the fun. What is more exciting than filling in the year you have been looking for?


1. A collection book.

These are generally made of cardboard with placement holes for each year. When your book is full, your collection is complete.

2. 2×2 cardboard holders.

These are fantastic for holding duplicate coins should the place in your book be filled. Additionally, starting out with these holders instead of books is also an option.


Coins minted before 1964 are 90% silver. This was the standard for dimes, quarters, half dollars. When the mint decided to stop using 90% silver in their coins, people took them out of circulation and put them away. Afterall, silver is a precious metal, an affordable precious metal to own. No matter what the commodities markets are doing, silver is still silver. Even if silver’s value was zero, your coins are still worth face value.


Minted from 1916 to 1945, this coin replaced the more formal Barber dime (minted from 1892 to 1916) and was thought to symbolize a new spirit throughout the country and was a breath of fresh air after the retired Barber dime, which was considered stiff and stodgy.

Originally named the Winged Head Liberty dime, the front (observe) depicts a liberty wearing a winged cap, sybolizing freedom of thought. However, many considered the design to be of Mercury, the messenger of the gods in Roman mythology. Thus, the name of Mercury dime stuck. The dime contains no mercury.

The Mercury dime brought the United States of America through some turbulant times in history. It saw us through World War I and World War II. Imagine that these generations used these dimes to pay for goods, services, groceries during the depression and throughout the roaring 20’s.

These are one of the easiest and most affordable coins to collect ranging in price from 50 cents to $2 each depending on condition and the metals market. These are very under-rated and therefore easy to collect. Graded coins or those in exceptional condition will fetch more, of course. There are also years and mint marks that are more desireable to complete a collection. A graded, hard to obtain date or error coin can fetch thousands. Those are not held with regular collections, however, but likely in vaults where nobody can appreciate their beauty. For instance, a 1916 D is harder to obtain due to the fact that the dyes were not ready in time for the unveiling of the dime so only 264,000 of these were minted. These will cost upwards of $500 or more. Despite that, a complete collection without that dime is quite valueable.

Many people consider the Mercury dime to be one of the most beautiful coins in minted history. For it’s small size, the intricate design is phenominal. The front (obverse) depicts a liberty head with the winged cap while the back (reverse) depicts a column. When looking for specimens for your collection, look at the columns bands, are they fully “split” or are they worn? Fully split bands indicate a much less worn coin making the value higher. However, remember, these coins are 90% pure silver so even if you find a specimen more worn, it’s still worth adding to your collection. Perhaps not in your formal displays but certainly in the collection.

Even after the death of President Roosevelt and the dime was changed to depict his likeness, the Mercury dimes were still in circulation heavily. Due to the fact that it did bring the country through very hard times, the sentimental value of the coin was held dear by the population.

To start your collection, there are many places to obtain these dimes. Online auction sites, brick and morter stores, even your parents or grandparents. Not only are these dimes beautiful, they hold a rich history and are a fantastic teaching tool for youngsters and youngsters at heart.


Diameter: 17.9 millimeters Weight: 2.50 grams Composition: .900 silver, .100 copper Edge: Reeded Net Weight: .07234 ounce pure silver.

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