Collecting Silver Mercury Dimes : A Comprehensive How to Collect Guide
Collecting mercury dimes or winged liberty dimes is a fun coin collection to start and continues to be worth more and more a the value of silver increases each year.
Mercury dimes were minted from 1916-1945. The all have the same composition, 90% Silver 10% Copper. The copper is added to silver coins to increase durability, since silver is a soft metal. To see how much just the metal is worth in any mercury dime just go to Coinflation.
At the time this hub was written silver is at a value of $16.12 per ounce which makes each dime worth $1.17 just in metal value. You can start with this number as being the minimum value for a mercury dime. So if you have a dime that is so worn out you can't even read the date and barely even know it is a mercury it is still worth $1.17. These prices change every day depending on what silver is worth.
Starting Your Collection
If you have absolutely no mercury dimes yet and want to start collecting you should first think about what quality of dime is acceptable to you. I generally don't like any of these dimes that are at least in Fine condition. A lot of the dimes are pretty common and you can pick these up for between $1.50-$2.00 including shipping on ebay or a little more at your local coin dealer. If you do buy on ebay make sure you look at the pictures to decide what condition the mercury dimes are in and do not just take the seller's word for the condition in the auction's title.
Grades for Mercury Dimes
MS-65 : Light marks that don't distract from the design and good luster and eye appeal
MS-63 : No wear, Light blemishes, good luster
AU-50 : Slight wear, still has most of the luster like MS-63 and MS-65
EF-40 : Slight wear on diagonal bands
VF-20 : Diagonal bands still visable
F-12 : All sticks defined and daigonal bands are flat
VG-8 : Half of the sticks are still defined as in F-12
G-4 : Letters and dates are still clear
You are going to need something to put your collection in. My favorite are the green Littleton Albums. They keep the coins really nice and are archival quality plus you can put them in the slipcases and they look terrific. I don't but any coins from them because their coin prices are outrageous but the albums are so pretty I do not mind paying an extra few dollars. You could also get a blue whitman coin folder for about $3.00 but they leave one side of the coin open to the elements. I had my collection in a blue folder before I upgraded to the album.
If you decided to use the Littleton album it will have spaces for some of the rarer mercury dimes. You can fill these with the rarities as intended or leave them blank of even buy replicas to fill the holes so your collection looks complete.
You should buy a set of gloves for handling your coins before you put them in the album so they do not develop fingerprints from where the oils in your skin have leeched on to the coin.
Have fun collecting!
Key and Semi-Key Date Mercury Dimes
1942 in which the 2 is printed over a 1
1942-D in which the 2 is printed over a 1