Mercury Dime Overview
The Winged Liberty Head Dime, known more commonly as the Mercury Dime, is a collector favorite due to its pleasing design and availability. Produced from 1916 till 1945, the Mercury Dime experience a 29 year production period.
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Robert W. Woolley, who was the acting United States Mint director, called for a change in design for the dime, quarter, and half dollar in 1915. Sculptor Adolph Weinman submitted his design for the new dime that was to replace the current Barber dime. Weinman won the competition, and his new dime design was put into production in 1916.
Weinman’s obverse design featured a bust of Lady Liberty facing left and wearing a cap with wings. “LIBERTY” is found centered above the bust. The motto, “IN GOD WE TRUST,” can be found to the left of Liberty’s neck, while the date can be found directly below. A “W” can be found to the right of Liberty’s neck and represents Weinman’s initial.
On the reverse, a fasces, or a hatchet surrounded by wooden rods, can be found centered. An olive branch is shown along with the fasces to signify both war and peace. The mottos, “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” can be found above and beside the fasces respectively. “ONE DIME” signifies the denomination of the coin and can be found centered below.
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 1943 Mercury Dime
In 1943, the US mint at Philadelphia created 191,710,000 examples of the Mercury Dime. This was the second highest amount produced in the series, only surpassed by the 231 million minted in 1944.
This huge amount minted has made the number of 1943 Mercury Dimes that have survived much more than other dates in the series. Prices for average condition 1943 Mercury Dimes are depressed because of the number minted. A large amount of 1943 Mercury Dimes in higher grades is also much more common.
All Mercury Dimes were composed of 90% silver and 10% copper. Each weighs 2.50 grams and has a diameter of 17.91mm. The edge of the coin is reeded (small bumps).
Grading the Mercury Dime
Any collectible coin’s value is based on the condition that the coin is in. Correctly determining a coin's condition will allow for a more accurate assignment of value.
Coin collectors turn to grading as a way of determining the condition that the coin is in. This grading is based on a scale from 1-70 where “70” is a perfect coin free of all defects. Here are some basic rules to help determine the grade for your 1943 Mercury Dime.
Good 4 - Heavily worn on all areas of the coin with the rim worn completely away. Most details are missing and many flat spots are present on the coin.
Fine 12 - Worn slightly less with some larger details more separated than in Good 4. The fasces has a good amount of wear on the wooden rods and few vertical lines remain.
Extra Fine 45 - All major details are sharp with some minor details impacted by wear. Some areas of Liberty’s hair are worn. Feathers may also be worn or lacking small details.
Uncirculated / Mint State 60 - A coin in brand new condition that has no wear evident. Original mint luster is present and strong. Some small hairline scratches may be present, but the entire coin is sharply struck with all small details present.
Value of the 1943 Mercury Dime
Due to the large number minted, the 1943 Mercury Dime tends to have a much lower price than other dimes in the series with lower mintages.
1943 Mercury Dimes found in Good 4 condition are not worth more than their silver value. At the time of this writing, silver is valued at $16.50 making the mercury dime worth about $1.50. Both Fine 12 and Extra Fine 45 1943 Mercury Dimes are valued at $2.50.
Higher graded examples also do not see a large increase in price. MS-60 1943 Mercury Dimes retail for $8. Prices do climb significantly to $28 for examples in MS-65 condition.
Prices for the 1943 Mercury Dimes are depressed because of the remaining examples that are in average to above average condition. Most of the prices of lower graded coins are based on the silver value of the coin, which still makes the 1943 Mercury Dimes a perfect investment opportunity for collectors.