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Coins Of The USA, Mercury Dime: 10 Cents (United States of America, 1943)-Article

Updated: Jan 12, 2022

This small WW-II era coin is a late mint Winged Liberty Head, also known as a Mercury Dime. This version of the Ten-Cent coin circulated from 1916-1945. Representing the 3rd denomination coin of the US Dollar. It was preceded by the Barber Dime (1892-1916) and replaced by the current Roosevelt Dime (1946-20xx).

The coin is a reeded-edged design made of .900 Grade Silver and weighs 2.5 g. Its dimensions are 17.9 mm (0.705 in) wide and 1 mm (0.039) in thick. It shares the size, weight , and composition with the Silver Roosevelt Dime (1946-1964).


Observe designed by Adolph Alexander Weinman (1870-1952)
Observe by Adolph Alexander Weinman (1870-1952)

The observe depicts Liberty wearing a winged Phrygian cap, representing freedom of thought. While the model for Mercury Dime has never been disclosed. It's popularly believed to be based on Elsie Stevens (1909-1955). Who husband lawyer-poet Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), rented an apartment from sculptor Adolph Weinman (1870-1952), the coin's designer.

The bust partially covers the word "Liberty". Notably the pattern (prototype) of this coin featured a smaller bust, offset to the right. At the lower left is phase "In God We Trust", this precedes it's official adoption in 1956. Its since has become a mainstay in US currency.

The coin's "1943" mint date is located on the lower right, along the bust's neckline. Toward the upper right of the mint date is a monogram. It features an overlapping letter "A" and "W", representing Adolph Weinman's initials. This monogram is missing from the pattern coins.


Reverse designed by Adolph Alexander Weinman (1870-1952).
Reverse by Adolph Alexander Weinman (1870-1952).

The reverse features a fasces (an ax made from a buddle of sticks) wrapped by an olive branch. Representing a collective preparedness for war, yet a desire for peace. The use of Roman symbolism is a common reoccurring feature in US currency and the US government as a whole. As is was a goal set by the founders, to emulate the Roman Republic.

Toward the right of the fasces is the Latin motto "E pluribus unum". This phrase is often translated as "Out of many, one". A metaphor for the federal system of the US government. Which at the time include 48 states, as opposed to the current 50. Each state functions as a sub-government, enacting/enforcing laws which supplement the central government.

Surrounding the beforementioned fasces and motto is wrap-around text. The upper portion reads "United States of America", it's separated from the lower by a pair of stars. Some coins feature a mint mark after the last letter "E", in "One Dime". When absent (such as this coin) it can be easily identified, as being produced by the US Mint (Philadelphia).

Size Comparison

A Mercury Dime with a modern Roosevelt Dime for scale.
A Mercury Dime with a modern Roosevelt Dime for scale.

Additional Notes

  • The Mercury Dime was produced by US Mint Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco.

  • Mercury Dimes produced by the Denver and San Francisco mint are marked "D" and "S",

  • In addition to the Mercury Dime, Adolph Weinman design WWII-era campaign medals and the famous Walking Liberty Half Dollar (1916-1947).

  • Adolph Weinman designed the Asiatic-Pacific, European-African-Middle Eastern, and American Campaign Medals.

  • From 1796-1964 it was US Mint practice to produce silver coins in .900 Grade standard.

  • During WWII the US Mint produced coinage for British colonies, using US silver standards.

  • An example of a US-produced British silver coin is the 1942 Fijian Florin (George VI).

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