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To begin with, mercury dimes are misnamed.
The portrait on the front of this coin was mistaken for (and bears resemblance to) the Greek god Mercury.
But the portrait is in fact of Liberty — the same figure that has graced U.S. coins since their introduction.
More about mercury dime coins and what they’re worth…
Little-Known Facts About Mercury Dimes
Mercury in Greek mythology was known as the “quick messenger” and was equipped with wings to better execute his duties.
The confusion comes in when the designer of the coin, Adolf Weinman, added wings to Liberty’s headdress.The wings were added to symbolize “liberty of thought”. However in the end, due to misconception, the coin was improperly named the mercury dime.
The mercury head dime was minted from 1916 through 1945 when it was replaced by the Roosevelt dime.
All mercury dimes are 90% silver, therefore they are at least worth their silver bullion price… which is more than 10 cents.
For mercury dimes — and most other 90% silver coins — you can expect a coin dealer to pay you 9 times face value for them (silver being 15.00/oz). So every mercury dime is worth at least 90 cents or more. This is of course with the exception of the rarer mercury dimes which are listed here:
Mercury Dime Values
- 1942-D 2/1: $675 to $950 – 2 is stamped over a pre-existing 1
- 1942 2/1: $625 to $900 – Same as above without the D mintmark
- 1931-D: $8 to $20 – Lower mintage
- 1926-S: $12 to $60 – Lower mintage
- 1925-D: $4 to $40 – Lower mintage
- 1921-D: $75 to $400 – Low mintage
- 1921: $60 to $300 – Low mintage
- 1919-D: $4 to $24 – Lower mintage
- 1917-D: $4.50 to $45 – Lower mintage
- 1916-S: $4 to $20 – Lower mintage
- 1916-D: $900 to $9,200 – Extremely low mintage
The large margin in price ranges cover the various grades of a coin.
The mint mark on the mercury head dime is very small and can be found on the reverse side of the coin on the bottom left — right after the E in the word ONE and just left of the branch.
The prices listed above for the more rare mercury dimes are from the Red Book. You probably will not receive this amount of money for them from a coin dealer, because a dealer won’t always give you exactly what the coin is worth. If they did, they would never make any money and be out of business.
For the most common mercury dimes, you can expect to get about $1 apiece for them — no matter what condition they’re in. Silver is silver, whether it’s pretty or not.
I have been collecting and trading coins for years. Coin collecting is a hobby for me, and I’ve done a lot of research about coins through the years.