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Mercury Dime Values

Are you wondering about mercury dime values? Because of the price of silver, all mercury dimes are worth more than a dollar. However, depending on the date and condition of the dime, the value could be a lot more. So, what are the values of mercury dimes and what different designs did they have over the years?

Mercury Dime Values

Words Used to Describe Coins

Before considering the value of mercury dimes, it is helpful to understand some of the words used to describe coins and their value:

  • Planchet: This is the blank of metal alloy used to make a coin.
  • Die. This is an engraved stamp pressed into the planchet.
  • Strike: When the die hits the planchet, it is called a strike.
  • Doubling: When a coin is struck twice it is doubled.
  • Mint Mark: This is a letter that tells where the coin was made. Current mint marks are: P - Philadelphia, S - San Francisco, D - Denver, and W - West Point. Mint marks from U.S. Mints no longer in operation are: C - Charlotte, NC; CC - Carson City; D - Dahlonega, GA; and O - New Orleans.
  • Proof: Coins minted for collectors are called proofs. They are doubled and use a specially treated and polished die. Proofs are also called cameos and are much shinier than regular coins.
  • Grade: There is a grading scale based on the condition of the coin. It is called the Sheldon Scale and ranges from Poor -1 to Mint State MS -70.
  • Obverse and reverse - The heads side of the coin is the obverse and the tails side is the reverse.

About Mercury Dime Values

Until 1964, all dimes minted in the U.S. were 90 percent silver. As of September 24, 2010, the melt value of mercury dimes minted between 1916 and 1945, is $1.5523. That is the value of the silver if the coin was melted down.

So, which mercury dime values are more than the melt value? Here is a list of rare or valuable mercury dimes. An extremely rare coin, like the 1916 D would be worth thousands, if it was in Mint State condition. No mint mark means it was produced in Philadelphia or was an error. The three prices given are in this order: the first is a coin in good condition (G-4), the second is a coin in extremely fine condition (EF-40), and the last is an un-circulated coin (60+).

Date/MM G-4 EF-40 MS-60+
1916 D $711.25 Rare Rare-unknown value
1921 $48.00 $333.75 1175.00
1921 D $60.75 $436.25 $900.00
1926 S $8.45 $192.83 $680.88
1931 D $5.96 $30.12 $63.70
1942/41 $300.00 $595.00 $1875.00 date error/42 struck over 41

Dime Designs

Since you now know the mercury dime values, it may also be interesting to consider how the design of the dime has changed over the years.

  • 1796 to 1807: The Draped Bust Dime had a profile of Lady on the obverse with an eagle on the reverse with olive and palm branches. After 1797, there was a U.S. shield in front of the eagle.
  • 1809 to 1837: The Capped Bust Dime had a profile of Lady on the obverse that was a little different and faced the opposite way. The reverse was similar to the last dime, with “10c” written at the bottom.
  • 1837 to 1891: The Seated Liberty Dime had Lady Liberty seated holding a staff with a liberty cap at the top. She had a shield to her right with the word “Liberty” on it. The reverse had ONE DIME in the middle, surrounded by a laurel wreath. In 1860, the wreath was replaced with wheat, corn, maple, and oak leaves.
  • 1892 to 1916: The Barber Dime had the head of Lady Liberty wearing a headband, liberty cap, and a laurel wreath. LIBERTY was written on the headband. The reverse was almost identical to the last dime.
  • 1916 to 1945: The Mercury Dime or, more correctly, the Winged Liberty Head Dime, has Lady Liberty as a mythical figure, wearing a liberty cap which has wings. The wings symbolized freedom of thought. Since the wings looked like the wings on the feet of the god’s messenger Mercury, this dime was nicknamed the mercury dime. The reverse had a bundle of sticks with an axe in it (fasces) in front of an olive branch. These symbolized readiness for war and a desire for peace.
  • 1946 to present day: The Roosevelt Dime has the profile of Franklin Roosevelt with the words LIBERTY and IN GOD WE TRUST. The reverse has an oak branch for victory, an olive branch for peace, and a torch in the center for liberty.