Mercury Dime Overview
Most commonly known as the Mercury Dime, the Winged Liberty Dime series witnessed times of great wealth, war, and economic disaster. Regarded as one of the most beautiful dime designs, the Mercury Dime is a favorite among collectors.
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Designed and put into mintage in 1916 by sculptor Adolph Weinman, the Mercury Dime would be produced until 1945. The Roosevelt Dome would come to replace the Mercury Dime in 1945 and usher in the modern design that is still produced today.
The obverse features a bust of Lady Liberty centered, facing left and wearing a winged cap. It is this winged cap that makes most people think that the bust is of the Roman god Mercury rather than Lady Liberty. The legends “LIBERTY,” “IN GOD WE TRUST,” and the date of mintage can also be found on the obverse.
On the reverse, a Roman Fasces (a hatched surrounded by wooden rods) can be found centered with an olive branch behind it. “E PLURIBUS UNUM” is found just to the right of the fasces. The denomination “ONE DIME” and the words “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” can be found along the rim.
Want to know more about the Mercury Dime as well as other collectible US dimes? Be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to Collectible Dimes.
History of the 1918 Mercury Dime
Minted just two years after the Mercury Dime design went into production, the 1918 Mercury Dime saw widespread mintage. In this article we will examine the mintage and history of the 1918 Mercury Dime, which, though minted in Philadelphia, has no mint mark.
The Mercury Dime was a success; many were minted in the few years following its release. In 1918, the US Mint at Philadelphia reports striking 26,680,000 Mercury Dimes. This is about the average amount minted in the first three years of production.
Early Mercury Dimes have seen the most time in circulation and, as a effect, tend to be rated in lower grades than the coins minted at later dates. Premium-grade coins see a significant price increase compared to other dates in the series.
Like all other Mercury Dimes, the 1918 Mercury Dime features a composition made up of 90% silver and 10% copper. Physical properties include a weight of 2.50 grams and a diameter of 17.91mm.
Early Mercury Dimes
Early year Mercury Dimes are unique in the fact that many specimens were produced but few remain in uncirculated condition today. This has led to premium grades bringing big prices at auctions every year.
For those looking to finish up a series, lower grade examples are abundant and can be found in any grade and price range. Most Mercury Dime dates can be found for close to silver price in lower grades.
Another interesting fact is that, during the early years, two key date coins were created due to low mintages.
The 1916 D Mercury Dime is the biggest key date and has a value of $1,000 just in Good 4 condition! Those in Mint State condition realize a price of over $12,500!
1921 was a year that also had a lower mintage that has caused prices to rise to above average prices. Although not as expensive as the 1916 D, the 1921 Mercury Dime still can empty your wallet quickly.
In the next few years, the prices for premium early-date Mercury Dimes should rise as few new examples are found and graded. If demand continues to increase, the price rise may be very dramatic in a short time.
Valuing the 1918 Mercury Dime
There is a wide disparity between the prices of the 1918 Mercury Dime, depending on the condition of the coin. Those coins that are in less than Good 4 condition are only worth silver value, which is currently $1.25.
Lower graded coins between Good 4 and Very Good 8 are worth about $3. A jump to $5 is seen in Fine 12, and the price doubles to $12 when in a grade of Very Fine 20. Price doubles again to $25 in Extremely Fine 40.
Uncirculated examples command much higher prices than non-uncirculated examples. MS-60 coins retail for about $85 and MS-63 examples are worth $140. MS-66 is the highest grade given to a 1918 Mercury Dime by NGC and currently has a price tag of $1,100!
Unlike other later coins in the Mercury Dime series, the 1918 Mercury Dime does not have many high grade examples. This means that 1918 Mercury Dimes will have a much higher price compared to similar coins in the series. Because of this comparative price increase, collectors may not be able to afford an as-nice example of the 1918 Mercury Dime as in another date or mint.