Among the coin series from the “Renaissance of American Coinage,” the Mercury dime has always had a special appeal for collectors. The obverse displays simple and lovely head of Liberty wearing a winged cap, while the reverse design (symbolizing strength) was appropriate for the time of its original design, as in 1916 much of the world was at war. While the United States did not enter World War I until 1917, this conflict was just on the horizon and the idea of portraying our strength on national coinage held great appeal. Mercury dimes were struck from 1916 to 1945, encompassing not only the World War I era, but also the Roaring 20s, the Great Depression and World War II.
Among Mercury dimes there are dates with low mintages, which are considered key dates regardless of condition (the 1916-D stands out here), while others are condition rarities, common in low grades, but scarce in Mint State. Collectors of the series often focus on strike. These dimes are often softly struck and the horizontal bands holding the reverse fasces together are not always separated. Those receiving the “full split bands” or “FB” designation from the grading services are highly sought after, similar to Liberty Standing quarters that display Full Head details.
The 1923-S dime is a condition rarity when it comes with the FB designation, and attracts a significant premium. The coin offered in this week’s iAuction, as lot 21039, displays a mottled golden russet toning pattern over silver gray luster. If you are building a set of gem Mint State Mercury dimes, be sure to review this coin in iAuction 3527, available for viewing and bidding at StacksBowers.com.