The 2016 10th Ounce Gold Mercury Dime
Coin collectors were certainly pleased with the release of the 2016 Gold 1/10-ounce Mercury Dime Coin, as the coin sold out within an hour of being launched on April 21, 2016.
Initially just after the coins release the numismatic market’s trading networks saw a lot of action, with some coins selling for as much as $300. This meant the original buyers directly from the Mint, who got the coin for around $205, saw solid profits. Now the price has settled down and on eBay, “Buy It Now” is going for approximately $215 to $230. The 2016-W Winged Liberty Head gold dime coin, which is a graded Specimen 70, is trading at even higher prices of between $270 and $300.
The Mercury Dime
The Barber design of the dime, quarter and half dollar coins was revamped in 1916. The public was no longer happy with the three denominations sharing an identical design on both the obverse and the reverse. Consequently, the United States Treasury, as was general practice, held an event where sculptors could submit their designs for the new coins. This contest resulted in the selection of Adolph A. Weinman’s dime design, which we now call the Mercury dime.
Weinman used a portrait of Elsie Stevens, the wife of Wallace Stevens, as his muse for the design. The design itself featured a young Lady Liberty wearing a Phrygian cap. However, everyone assumed the design was of Mercury, the Roman God, which is how the name “Mercury dime” came to be. On the reverse side of the coin, Weinman chose fasces and an olive branch for his design. The fasces represented strength and unity, while the olive branch represented peace.
While the Mercury dime coins are popular among collectors in general, there are some dates that stand out from the rest. The rarest Mercury dime coin is the 1916-D, with only 264,000 minted. These coins sell for anywhere from $700 to approximately $20,000, depending on their condition. Another rare Mercury dime is the 1921-P, which is worth around $2,000 if it is in Choice BU condition. The 1921-D can sell for as much as $1,900 if it is in the Choice BU condition. Examples of both the 1921-P and the 1921-D can be purchased for less than $100 in good condition.
There are also a few die varieties of the Old Mercury Dime coin, with the 1942 and “2 over 1” varieties being the rarest and most valuable. These will sell for anywhere from a few hundred dollars, in circulated condition, to a few thousand dollars, if they are uncirculated.
Adolph A. Weinman Biography
Born in Durmersheim, Germany in 1870, Adolph A. Weinman was the son of a shoemaker and moved to the United States when he was ten years old. Born with the last name Weingaertner, Adolph changed his name to Weinman in an effort to assimilate in his new home country. Growing up in his adoptive surroundings, Weinman developed a passion and an appreciation for art and sculpting.
He started an apprenticeship with Frederick Kaldenberg when he was only fifteen years old, which helped him better develop his skills. His initial works focused on carving, and Weinman made objects such as pipes and mirror frames. Most of his work involved wood and ivory.
As Weinman learned more and more about art at his apprenticeship with Kaldenberg, he gained the confidence to apply for a position at the New York City Cooper Union. He also became a member of the Art Students League, where he got to practice and hone his drawing skills. It took Weinman five years to finish his apprenticeship, at which point he joined Philip Martiny’s medalist studio. This gave him an entry into the world of medals and coins.
In total, Weinman spent about five years with Martiny before working as an assistant at Olin H. Warner’s studio. When Olin passed away, Weinman joined Augustus Saint-Gauden’s studio, where he stayed for three years. When Saint-Gaudens moved to Paris, Weinman began working with Charles H. Neihaus, the famous medalist. This gave Weinman the opportunity to improve his medal and coin skills, and it also allowed him to meet Daniel Chester French. The two eventually formed a partnership, although it only lasted for a couple of years.
All of Weinman’s apprenticeships and jobs taught him something different about art and sculpting. He eventually took all of his experiences and opened his own studio in 1904, when he began working on commissions for award medals and coins. The first major medal he designed was the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition Award Medal. Around that time, Weinman worked with Augustus Saint-Gaudens again to create a medal for the inauguration of President Theodore Roosevelt.
Even if you are not a Mercury dime collector, the new 2016 gold Mercury dime is a welcome addition to the series that ended more than seventy years ago.