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Obverse of 1938 Mercury Head Dime     Reverse of 1938 Mercury Head Dime  


MERCURY HEAD DIMES
(1916-1945)

Designer: Adolph Alexander Weinman

Diameter: 17.9 millimeters

Metal content:
Silver - 90%
Copper - 10%

Weight: 2.50 grams

Edge: Reeded

Mintmarks: the mintmark appears as a small letter just to the right of the E of ONE on the reverse:

None = Philadelphia
S = San Francisco
D = Denver

   

Images courtesy of Early American History Auctions

Notes:
In 1916, a new Dime design was introduced to replace the old Barber design that had been in use since 1892.  Designed by A.A. Weinman, the new design featured a portrait of Liberty facing left, wearing a winged cap.  Because of the resemblance to the Roman god, Mercury, the coin became known popularly as the "Mercury Head" Dime.  The reverse blends a Roman fasces (ax surrounded by a tied bundle of sticks) and an olive branch, indicating America's military readiness but also their desire for peace.  The Mercury Head Dime series is one of the most popular in all of American numismatics.  Apart from the 1916-D and 1942 overdates, most dates are obtained with little difficulty.  However, several of the dates are extremely rare in high grade.  The most desirable issues are those with Full Split Bands on the reverse, which means all of the bands that hold the fasces together on the reverse must be clearly and completely separated.  While much attention is focused on the central bands, the bands on the ends of the fasces must be separated, as well.  Again, many dates are extremely rare in Gem condition with Full Split Bands.
  

Date

Mintage for
Circulation

Mintage of
Proofs

Notes

1916

22,180,080

0

 

1916-D

264,000

0

This is the key to the series and it is eagerly sought after in all grades.

1916-S

10,450,000

0

 

1917

55,230,000

0

 

1917-D

9,402,000

0

 

1917-S

27,330,000

0

 

1918

26,680,000

0

 

1918-D

22,674,800

0

 

1918-S

19,300,000

0

 

1919

35,740,000

0

 

1919-D

9,939,000

0

 

1919-S

8,850,000

0

 

1920

59,030,000

0

 

1920-D

19,171,000

0

`

1920-S

13,820,000

0

 

1921

1,230,000

0

Scarce, semi-key issue.

1921-D

1,080,000

0

Scarce, semi-key issue.

1923

50,130,000

0

 

1923-S

6,440,000

0

 

1924

24,010,000

0

 

1924-D

6,810,000

0

 

1924-S

7,120,000

0

 

1925

25,610,000

0

 

1925-D

5,117,000

0

 

1925-S

5,850,000

0

 

1926

32,160,000

0

 

1926-D

6,828,000

0

 

1926-S

1,520,000

0

 

1927

28,080,000

0

 

1927-D

4,812,000

0

 

1927-S

4,770,000

0

 

1928

19,480,000

0

 

1928-D

4,161,000

0

 

1928-S

7,400,000

0

 

1929

25,970,000

0

 

1929-D

5,034,000

0

 

1929-S

4,730,000

0

 

1930

6,770,000

0

 

1930-S

1,843,000

0

 

1931

3,150,000

0

 

1931-D

1,260,000

0

 

1931-S

1,800,000

0

 

1934

24,080,000

0

 

1934-D

6,772,000

0

 

1935

58,830,000

0

 

1935-D

10,477,000

0

 

1935-S

15,840,000

0

 

1936

87,500,000

4,130

 

1936-D

16,132,000

0

 

1936-S

9,210,000

0

 

1937

56,860,000

5,756

 

1937-D

14,146,000

0

 

1937-S

9,740,000

0

 

1938

22,190,000

8,728

 

1938-D

5,537,000

0

 

1938-S

8,090,000

0

 

1939

67,740,000

9,321

 

1939-D

24,394,000

0

 

1939-S

10,540,000

0

 

1940

65,350,000

11,827

 

1940-D

21,198,000

0

 

1940-S

21,560,000

0

 

1941

175,090,000

16,557

 

1941-D

45,634,000

0

 

1941-S

43,090,000

0

 

1942

205,410,000

22,329

This was the last year in which Proofs of this type were made, due in large part to the advent of World War II.  Look for the rare 1942/1 overdate on circulation strikes only.

1942-D

60,740,000

0

Look for the rare 1942/1-D overdate.

1942-S

49,300,000

0

 

1943

191,710,000

0

 

1943-D

71,949,000

0

 

1943-S

60,400,000

0

 

1944

231,410,000

0

 

1944-D

62,224,000

0

 

1944-S

49,490,000

0

  

1945

159,130,000

0

Uncirculated examples with Full Split Bands are very rare.

1945-D

40,245,000

0

 

1945-S

41,290,000

0

Comes with a normally sized mintmark and a very tiny "Micro S".

 
 

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