Coin Collecting at the Safir House
Mercury Dimes

Mercury Dimes, also known as Liberty Head Dimes, is the classic 20th century coin which as come to standout represent much of American coinage. In some regards, it is the vision fulfilled of the overhaul in coinage designs began under the Teddy Roosevelt administration at the turn of the century. The design was created by Alfred A Weinman, the creater of the Walking Liberty Half Dollar.

As with the Walking Liberty Half. the Libery Head Dime is a Neo-Classical design and the likeness of the Liberty to the Mythological Apollo is not just coincidental. The resulting hedonist reference was enourmously popular with the public and then adopted by by many comercial institutions, spreading the fame of the design even further. The Mercury Dime mottif was carved and molded into hundreds of banks across the nation. The image also became famous in the "March of Dimes" campaign, championed by President Franklin Roosevelt until his death.

Dimes, given their size, make for coins which are very senstive to the slightest imperfection in the strike or damage. A good magnifying glass is necessary to make any credible attempt at grading, or to appreciate these little gems. We have aquired just a few coins to date, and the first one caused immediate controversy. The Mercury Dime reverse has a rather odd reeded and axe design with a lot of subtle details. The reeds are bounded together with rode or bands. Strikes with full bands are highly prized.

This very nice little 1936 S dime which was purchased for a about 30 dollar in a local Brooklyn coin shop was marked on the 2X2 in which the coin was sold as being Full Bands, without arches. Upon bringing it home, we photographed it and then put the pictures on the net, asking what others thought of the grade. The question occurs is whether or not the coin is actually full banded, with the focus on the middle two bands on the reed.

Further shots were inconclusive, although it seems that the coin was not Full Bands, despite being a very distinct strike. Furthermore, in the light of the photographs, the reverse of the coin shows die polish which drops the grade a little more. Although these polish lines on the fields of the dime are barely vissible with the eye, they stand out with the magnification.

Finally, the reeds themselves have been blown up under magnification. These photographs seem to conclude that the coin was not full reeds, although it is very close.

Bottom reeds (upside down)
Middle Reeds
Middle Reeds
Top Reeds

So as all this happening the taste developed to aquire another dime, one that was more clearly Full Banned. After much searching and consideration, this coin was aquired.

Yet another 36

When looking at these photos we forget the scale of these coins. Mercs are very small and here is a good image to give you an idea of the scale.
Larger image on the keyboard

He is a 42 graded slab MS67

Here is a very decent circulating 1917 Dime which nearly has Split Bands on the reverse. It is an excellent strike.
1917 Mercury Dime Obverse 1917 Mercury Dime Reverse

This is a toned Merc 1945 that was slabbed. Not pretty toning but a high grade coin
1945 Merc Dime 1945 Merc Dime

1936 S FB

This is a 1937 Slabbed by PCGS as a MS66 NO FULL BANDS. Judge for yourself

1941 PCGS MS67FB - I love this strike!

An Archive of the photographs of this coin is available here

The Safir Family Internet Coin Library. Nearly all the coins here have been stolen. If you have any information on the theft, please contact us at

Click to see these examples show below including photography: note to lawyer: most of the good stuff is gone
Section I:
US Coints
Large Cent Coppers
Flying Eagle Cents
Lincoln Cents and Wheat Backs
Buffalo Nickels
Jefferson Nickels
Jefferson Silver War Nickels
Bust Half Dimes
Mercury (Liberrty Head) Dimes
Roosevelt Dime
Barber Quarter Dollars
Standing Libery Quarter
Washington and Washington State Quarters
Cap Bust Half Dollars
1813 o.108 AU58 Cap Bust Half Providence Powell.
1818 MS63 Cap Bust Half
1833 MS63 Cap Bust Half
Seated Half Dollars
Barber Half Dollars
Walking Liberty Half Dollars
Franklin Half Dollars
Kennedy Half Dollars
Morgan Silver Dollars
Peace Silver Dollars
Eisenhower Clad and Silver Dollars
Sacawagea Golden Dollars
Modern Silver and Clad Proof Sets
Modern American Silver Eagle uncirculated mint coins and proofs
Modern Silver and Clad 2008 Commorative Bald Eagle Series
Gold Coins - Not too many
Circulated US Silver Coins prior to 1964

Go To Section II:
Modern and Ancient Foreign Coins from Outside The United States

Go To Section III:
Mandy's 25th Anniversary World Wildlife Fund Silver Coins

Unsorted Extra stuff:
Bust US Coinage
From the coin Show at Melville Long Island
Article on Numismatics and Lobbying

The Safir Family Internet Coin Library: Foriegn Coins.

Several mints from around the world make exciting coin designs in circulating alloys, silver and gold. Among my favorites are the Perth Mint in Austrailia which produces a variety of coins for nations mostly through out the Pacific Rim. The Neatherlands has also produced some interesting designs, and several private US based mints have produced foreign currency on contract, include the Franklin Mint which has produced many Israeli Coins.
Our interest in foreign coins has been nominal but rapidly growing as it seems that US designs are so stuck in the mud. Also, foreign mints are creating bold new designs with color and bimetal designs that are both eye catching and fun.

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