100 years ago in 1916, the United States Mint introduced a coin that would soon take on mythical status … both for its stunning design and its name.
On October 28, 1916, sculptor Adolph A. Weinman’s Winged Liberty Head Dime made its first appearance. Today, it’s one of America’s favorite classic coins – but if you ask the average collector about the “Winged Liberty Head Dime,” you’ll be met with puzzled looks and blank stares!
That’s because nobody knows it by its real name.
Before this coin – and the accompanying Walking Liberty Half Dollar and Standing Liberty Quarter issued at about the same time – the Liberty design on coins was almost always conservative. Weinman’s new dime design was different. It was bold … striking … beautiful.
And confusing! Liberty is wearing a winged cap to symbolize freedom of thought – but to many people, the image reminded them of Mercury, the ancient Roman god of commerce and poetry. In addition, Mercury guided souls to the underworld and was the messenger of the gods. He was usually portrayed with winged shoes and a winged cap to suggest the speed with which he delivered messages.
As a result of Liberty’s winged cap, the Winged Liberty Head Dime has always been known by its nickname, the Mercury Dime – despite the fact that doesn’t actually show Mercury!
New in 2016 … the 100th Anniversary GOLD Mercury Dime!
To mark the 100th anniversary of the Mercury Dime, the U.S. Mint produced a 99.99% gold (24-karat gold) edition in 2016. Using the exact same design as the 1916 coin, it was the first gold dime in U.S. history. The original Mercury Dime was struck in 90% silver.
In keeping with the coin’s history and design, the 2016 gold edition is about the same size as an original Mercury Dime. It was struck with 1/10 ounce of pure gold – symbolic of the dime being 1/10 of a dollar. It is therefore slightly heavier than a silver dime but is about the same diameter.
The reverse is virtually identical to the 1916 silver coin: a Roman fasces and olive branch, indicating both military readiness and peace. This design was especially notable, since it first appeared as the U.S. was preparing to enter World War I when it was first used on the 1916 coin.
Demand for the 2016 gold coin is expected to be overwhelming, both as a unique collector’s item and as the perfect centerpiece to any Mercury Dime collection. However, it was made in a shockingly small edition of only 125,000 … so it’s over twice as rare as even the rarest silver Mercury Dime, which can sell for $20,000 or more in nice uncirculated condition.
With so few 100th anniversary gold coins available, collectors are warned that these coins are expected to sell out quickly. May the speed of Mercury be with you on your quest for this special gold coin!