|Mint:||United States Mint|
Gainesville Coins offers Solid Bank Rolls of 90% Silver Dimes. Each $5 face value roll of fifty pre-1965 dimes will contain Mercury Dimes, Roosevelt Silver Dimes, or a mixture of each. These coins will feature different dates, all ranging between 1916 and 1964, and will be selected at Gainesville Coins' discretion.
Mercury Dimes feature the bust of Liberty wearing a winged helmet. The public thought the image looked like the Roman god Mercury, giving the coin its common name. Roosevelt Silver Dimes were minted between 1946 and 1964. They also are valued by collectors and investors for their silver content. The Roosevelt dime, which is still produced in a clad version today, features the bust of the 32nd President of the United States of America due to his support for the March of Dimes anti-polio campaign. These dimes are packaged in a paper “bank roll” with a total face value of $5. The roll has an approximate Total Silver Content of 3.575 Troy Ounces.
History of the “Mercury” Dime
The much-vilified Barber designs on US silver dimes, quarters and half dollars were introduced in 1892. 1916 marked 25 years that the designs had circulated, making them eligible for replacement. Director of the Mint Robert W Woolley lost no time in securing new designs. Following a practice begun in 1907 of hiring outside artists to produce new coin designs, Woolley invited noted sculptors Hermon MacNeil, Albin Polasek, and Adolph Weinman to submit designs for the dime, quarter, and half dollar coins. Weinman’s design for the dime was chosen (he also had the winning design for the half dollar, with his “Walking Liberty”).
The design of the Mercury dime was actually called “Winged Liberty Head”. The profile is that of Lady Liberty facing left, wearing a winged Phrygian cap. The wings of the cap signify Freedom of Thought. However, the short, curly hair of Liberty, combined with the wings on the cap, led the public to believe that it was the head of the Roman messenger god Mercury.
The reverse of the coin shows wooden rods bundled around a war axe. Known as a fasces, it is an ancient Roman symbol for strength in unity. This represents the combined military strength of the states of the US coming together, more powerful united than they could be separately. The olive branch running around the fasces represents peace, but peace backed by the might of America.
Did You Know?
- In the original 1915 design competition to replace the Barber silver coins, Adolph Weinman not only won the dime and half dollar designs, but also the reverse for the quarter! It was later decided that this would be a bit much, so MacNeil’s design for the reverse of the quarter was chosen, to go along with his winning quarter obverse.
- The term “junk silver” originally came from the fact that pre-1965 subsidiary coinage once sold for less than the silver spot price. “90%” is now used, as demand for these old silver coins now means that they trade at a premium to the spot price.
- The Roosevelt dime was designed in 1946 by Chief Engraver James Sinnock. It was the first circulating coin designed in-house at the US Mint since Charles Barber’s 1892 designs for silver subsidiary coinage.
History of the Roosevelt Dime
President Franklin D Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945, a scant three weeks before the surrender of Nazi Germany. The President that had brought America through the Great Depression and led the Free World in the fight against Fascism was gone. A distraught nation was united in the desire to see Roosevelt honored in some enduring fashion.
Roosevelt, who had been paralyzed by polio in 1921, founded the March of Dimes as a charity to find a cure for the disease.Immortalizing the President on the dime was a natural course of action. The task was given to Chief Engraver of the US Mint John Sinnock. The deadline for having the coins circulate was January 30, 1946. This was both FDR’s birthday, and the date of the annual March of Dimes fundraiser. Final approval of Sinnock’s design only came on January 8, and minting began as soon as the first dies were ready.
The obverse of the Roosevelt dime is dominated by the left-facing portrait of FDR. His likeness was crafted to be as large as the size of the dime permitted. The inscription LIBERTY appears along the upper left corner of the rim, opposite the President’s face. The motto IN GOD WE TRUST is tucked under his chin, and the year-date is shoe-horned between the back of FDR’s neck and the lower right rim.
The reverse features the Torch of Liberty in the center, an especially apt choice as the Allies had just brought the light of Freedom back to a world trapped in darkness. On either side of the torch are branches of laurel and oak, signifying might in civil and military matters. These choices are also heavy with symbolism, given FDR’s work in pulling America out of the depths of the Great Depression and greatly expanding the nation’s infrastructure, and his transforming of America into the greatest military power the world had seen.
Gainesville Coins carries bags of old 90% silver US coins in several sizes. We often get old circulated silver coins from other nations, so check them out as well.
Stock photo is for reference only. Date and condition are chosen randomly from available inventory.