The Content, Value, and Grading of Mercury Dime Coins

A Little History on the Mercury Dime

The Content, Value, and Grading of Mercury Dime Coins

The minting of the Mercury Dime began in June 1916. Prior to that, the three silver coins that were in circulation since 1892 had become unpopular with the public. This unpopularity caused leaders with the authority to make the changes, to begin planning for the replacement of the original Mercury Dime. However, due to previously implemented laws and policies, the Mercury Dime could not be changed without the direct approval of the Congressional body for up to 25 years after the creation of the Mercury Dime

Once 25 years has passed, the coin could be replaced by the treasury without approval from Congress. A contest was organized, and several concepts were submitted by designers such as Charles E. Barber who had designed the silver coins for the dime, quarter, and half dollar. The design by Adolph Weinman was favored and chosen as the winning concept. It features Lady Liberty with a cap who was confused for the Roman goddess Mercury thus the name.

Mercury Dime Content

  • The Mercury Dime total weight is 2.5 grams.
  • The coin contains 90% silver with three-quarter ounces of the precious metal.
  • The front of the coin shows Lady Liberty in tight curls and a Phrygian cap. The reverse of the coin is an olive behind Roman fasces represented by a bundle of rods tied around an ax.
  • The Mercury Dime was struck between 1916 and 1945 and was replaced by the Roosevelt dime in 1946.

The Value of the Mercury Dime

The value of your mercury dime is largely determined by three factors: mint marks, mint year and condition. The mint mark indicates where the coin was struck. There are three main marks you’ll find on the Mercury Dime:

  • No Mint Mark: No mark on the coin indicates the coin was manufactured in Philadelphia.
  • "P" Mercury Dime: Also indicates that the coin was minted in Philadelphia.
  • “S” Mercury Dime: This coin was minted in San Francisco.
  • “D” Mercury Dime: This coin was struck in Denver.

Mint Year

The Mercury Dime was minted between 1916 and 1945. However, most coins were struck between 1916 and 1930. The number of coins varied from year to year. These coins were released during the wartime period when silver was sometimes diverted to support the war effort.

Some of the most valuable coins are:

  1. 1916-D Mercury Dime
  2. 1931 Mercury Dime
  3. 1921 Mercury Dime
  4. 1940 Mercury Dime


The condition of your mercury dime also plays a big role in determining how much your coin is worth. The condition can be determined by four major grades:

Uncirculated: These coins have been kept in good condition after they were issued. They are referred to as uncirculated due to their excellent condition free from wear and damage. They are the most valued by collectors and are also very rare.

Very Fine: A coin can be categorized in extremely fine condition if there is very little evidence of wear and damage. These coins have to be inspected closely to see the damage. These coins are also relatively rare and very valuable.

Fine: The condition of a coin is said to be fine if it has little but readily noticeable damage. The damage is usually confined to the coins high points.

Good: The lowest grade given to a coin based on its condition. It indicates that the coin has undergone significant damage. These coins are still sought after by collectors but they are considered to be of a lower value than the other grades.

You can get silver coins and other collectibles from Chula Vista Coins and Stamps, the number one dealer in coins in San Diego for over 40 years. Bringing some of the rarest and common coins to you, with exceptional pricing, compared to our gold and silver dealer competitors. Give us a call today to get a hold of your ideal coin at 619-427-9154.