Collecting Mercury Dimes - Minted 1916 to 1945
The Mercury Dime was minted between 1916 and 1945 and is the most collectible of any dime minted in the United States. It is also the smallest and thinnest US coin made.
Many people mistakenly think that the obverse of the Mercury Dime depicts the Roman messenger god, but this is not the case. In actuality, the image on the Mercury Dime depicts the goddess Liberty, the same goddess that the statue of Liberty was fashioned after. The reverse of this dime is also beautiful and features a Roman fasces which is a bundle of birch rods. The more these bands on the fasces are defined the more valuable one of these coins are.
The Mercury Dime is considered by some to be one of the most beautiful coins ever minted in the United States and it's no wonder because the designer, Adolph Weinman, studied under another famous coin designer Agustus St Gaudens. (Weinman won a contest and his design was chosen to be on this coin. ) St Gaudens designed the popular $20 gold double eagle which is also considered by many to be the most beautiful coin ever created. My choice would be for the St Gaudens Double Eagle, but both are spectacular coins.
The most sought after and valuable of all Mercury Dimes is the 1916-D version. A low mintage of 264,000 makes this an extremely valuable specimen and Mercury Dimes in this date and mint mark in good condition can fetch up to $6,000. Not bad for a coin with a face value of only 10 cents.
When looking for a 1916 D Mercury Dime however, it is very important that you either know exactly what you are looking for or that you have an expert examine the coin. Because of its scarcity, this is a highly faked coin with many a 1916 copy being altered with a fake D. It is important to know your stuff when considering this numismatic treasure.
Certainly one of the draws to coin collecting beyond just the value of any coin is its beauty and the Mercury Dime is a striking example of days past in the minting of US coins. Its beauty, more than anything else, is probably what makes this coin so popular. Many a collector, even if they aren't specifically collecting Mercury Dimes has at least a single example just to say they have one.
Maybe you need to add one to your collection...