Mercury Dime Overview
The Winged Liberty Head Dime, most commonly known as the Mercury Dime, was a long-running series of US dimes. Today’s collectors seek out high-grade Mercury Dimes to add to their collections due to the potential for future price appreciation.
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In 1916, Adolph Weinman submitted his design for America’s new dime. The Mint choose Weinman’s design, which featured a new take on liberty, and quickly moved the coin into production. Mercury Dimes would become a hit with consumers and would be produced from 1916 till 1945, a 29-year run.
On the obverse, a bust of Lady Liberty wearing a winged cap is facing left. “IN GOD WE TRUST” is to the left of Liberty's neck, and the date of mintage is below. The word “LIBERTY” can be found centered along the top of the obverse.
The reverse of the Mercury Dime is much different than any other US coin ever made. A roman fasces (a hatchet surrounded by wooden rods) with an olive branch is the featured design. Mottos like “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” and “ONE DIME” can be found on the reverse as well.
Want to know more about the Mercury Dime and other collectible US dimes? Be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to Collectible Dimes
History of the 1926 Mercury Dime
All three mints produced the Mercury Dime for most of it’s prominence. In this particular article, we are examining the 1926 Mercury Dime that was minted in Philadelphia, which means that there is no present mint mark on the reverse of the coin.
The Mint at Philadelphia reports striking 32,160,000 Mercury Dimes dated 1926. This was an average number minted during the earlier years that Mercury Dimes were in production.
Production numbers for Mercury Dimes would drop off at the end of the 1920s and into the early 1930s due to the Great Depression.
Like all other Mercury Dimes, the 1926 Mercury Dime features a composition made up of 90% silver and 10% copper. Physical properties included a weight of 2.50 grams and a diameter of 17.91mm.
Mercury Dimes minted at Denver
Most Mercury Dimes were minted at Philadelphia, but the most sought-after Mercury Dimes are those that were minted in Denver.
Denver tended to create far fewer Mercury Dimes because it was the secondary producer. This makes Mercury Dimes bearing the “D” mint mark to be worth much more than similar Philadelphia Mercury Dimes.
Of course there are some years that Denver minted Mercury Dimes only hold a small premium over non-Denver minted examples.
Because prices for Denver-minted Mercury Dimes are much higher, most collectors will not be able to afford a full set. Lower grades can even be pricey depending on the date. Collectors who are looking to get the most bang for their buck can purchase mint-state Philadelphia mint Mercury Dimes and lower-grade Denver minted dimes to fill out their set.
Denver-minted Mercury Dimes tend to have a price of around $100 in mint condition. Prices jump up quickly in Premium uncirculated grades. This quick rise in price is due to the low number that have survived till today.
Valuing the 1926 Mercury Dime
1926 Mercury Dimes are plentiful in low grades and a little scarcer in mint condition and above. At the very least, each Mercury Dime is worth $1.25 in silver.
Good-4 to Fine-12 grades have a price range of $2.50 to $3. Most surviving 1926 Mercury Dimes fall somewhere into these grades. Very Fine–20 realizes a price of $5, and Extremely Fine–40 have a small jump to $6.
Uncirculated examples are worth significantly more than non-mint-state 1926 Mercury Dimes.
Uncirculated examples in MS-60 are valued at $32, whereas MS-63 have an estimated price of $70. A huge jump to $160 can be seen in MS-65. A one-point increase in grade to MS-66 leads to a retail price of $325!
Prices will continue to rise for mint state examples if few raw uncirculated coins are submitted for grading. The coin market is growing and demand is increasing. If supply of premium 1926 Mercury Dimes does not increase, the future looks bright.