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1941 Mercury Dime Proof : A Collector’s Guide

1941 Mercury Dime Proof. Image: Heritage Auctions / CoinWeek.
1941 Mercury Dime Proof. Image: Heritage Auctions / CoinWeek.

By Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker for CoinWeek Notes …..
 

The popular Mercury Dime series was produced for circulation from 1916 through 1945, but Proof versions of the iconic Adolph Weinman design were struck only from 1936 through 1942.

Numismatic researcher and CoinWeek contributor Roger Burdette reports 29 deliveries of Proof Mercury Dimes for 1941, with the typical delivery being either 503 or 603 pieces. Proofs were struck fairly consistently and regularly throughout the year, with an apparent break in production in July. Burdette notes that these deliveries did not represent the totality of the Proof examples struck, as about 20% of production was rejected for quality reasons.

1941 Mercury Dime Proof Deliveries
January 29 503 February 5 503
February 17 503 February 27 503
March 7 503 March 13 603
March 26 603 April 4 603
April 16 603 April 24 603
May 2 603 May 16 603
May 27 603 June 10 603
June 16 603 June 23 663
August 8 603 August 27 603
September 18 603 October 22 603
November 4 603 November 24 503
December 3 603 December 8 603
December 16 603 December 22 503
December 24 503 December 29 503
December 31 513 Total: 16,557

* Source: Burdette, Roger. United States Proof Coins 1936-1942. Seneca Mill Press.

The only 1941 Mercury Dime Proof with a Cameo designation. Image: Heritage Auctions.
The only 1941 Mercury Dime Proof with a Cameo designation. Image: Heritage Auctions.

Nearly every 1941 Mercury Dime Proof as struck would have had a glassy brilliant finish that covered the fields and the devices. The Philadelphia Mint deployed a total of five obverse and six reverse dies to strike the 1941 Proofs. Three of these die pairs entered production at the same time, leaving open the possibility that some small number of coins – if the dies were properly prepared – would exhibit some degree of Cameo contrast.

To date, only one coin (NGC PF67CAM #1620403-011) has been certified as a Cameo. Unfortunately, the image, taken from a 2006 Heritage Auction, is insufficient to ascertain the thickness of the coin’s frost.

Today, most 1941 Mercury Dime Proofs exhibit some degree of toning or tarnish. Attractively toned examples are available but typically sell for a premium. Coins that have retained their full brilliance may have been dipped at some point.

How Much Are 1941 Mercury Dime Proofs Worth?

Despite its low mintage, the 1941 Mercury Dime Proof is affordable through the Gem grade of Proof 66. Collectors will have no problem sourcing such coins on eBay or during the internet sessions of major auction companies like Stack’s Bowers or Heritage Auctions. As of May 2024, a recent survey of eBay prices realized shows coins of typical quality selling for as little as $120. CoinWeek recommends that you purchase raw coins only from a reputable dealer, or coins certified by CAC, NGC, or PCGS.

The top population grade range for the three services is MS68+ to MS69. Certified populations are never static, and one has to consider that the prices realized for noteworthy specimens represent where the market was at the time of the auction and are not a true indicator of any coin’s current value.

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Market Data and Noteworthy Specimens

Top Population: PCGS PR68+ (7, 5/2024), NGC PF69 (1, 5/2024), and CAC PR68+ (0:1 stickered:graded, 5/2024).

The PCGS PR68+ population has increased from three in 2021 to seven as of May 2024.

  • NGC PF69 #4247487-001: As NGC PF68 CAC #178323-012. “The Eugene H. Gardner Collection, Part IV,” Heritage Auctions, October 2015, Lot 98383 – $7,050. Heritage Auctions, June 2004, Lot 8167; Unknown Intermediaries; Aspen Park Rare Coins to Eugene Gardner, by sale, February 2012; As NGC PF69 #4247487-001. Heritage Auctions, March 4, 2016, Lot 4819 – $11,162.50. Gold, purple, and blue toning around the obverse periphery. Peach and fuchsia toning are on the reverse, and blue and purple toning is on the rim.
  • CACG PR68+ #837481097: Heritage Auctions, May 9, 2024, Lot 4117 – $7,500.
  • NGC PF68+ #6058724-001: Heritage Auctions, July 20, 2023, Lot 3500 – $2,880. Streaks across the obverse. Awash with ice blue toning.
  • PCGS PR68+ CAC #41885791: As NGC PF69 #3809774-001. Heritage Auctions, February 4, 2016, Lo 3171 – $11,162.50; Heritage Auctions, February 20, 2020, Lot 3045 – $13,200; Heritage Auctions, August 3, 2020, Lot 3132 – $7,500; Heritage Auctions, January 21, 2021, Lot 3494 – $10,500. As PCGS PR68+ CAC #41885791. Stack’s Bowers, June 10, 2021, Lot 1446 – $10,800. Crossed to PCGS, downgraded by one-half point. Vivid crescent rim toning in orange, red, and green on the obverse. Scattered peach, red, and green toning on the reverse.
  • NGC PF68 #6329427-003: Heritage Auctions, July 20, 2023, Lot 7090 – $1,200.
  • PCGS PR68 CAC #7124226: Heritage Auctions, November 9, 2011, Lot 3598 – $4,887.50. Old Green Holder.; “The Maltese Collection,” Heritage Auctions, October 16, 2020, Lot 3329 – $8,400. Rim toning in gold and magenta at the obverse top and a thin curved rainbow of orange, magenta, blue, and green across IN GOD WE TRUST, bust truncation, and the date. Diagonal streaks of speckled orange toning across the lower half of the obverse. Pale toning on the reverse.
  • PCGS PR68 CAC #25387023: Heritage Auctions, December 5, 2013, Lot 3582 – $4,993.75; “The Maltese Collection,” Heritage Auctions, October 16, 2020, Lot 3330 – $5,520. On the obverse, vivid iridescent crescent rainbow toning. Red and orange rim toning on the reverse.
  • PCGS PR68 CAC #22058904: “The Larry Shapiro Proof Mercury Dimes PCGS Registry Set,” Heritage Auctions, January 5, 2006, Lot 2104 – $5,750. Larry Shapiro on insert; “The Good Humor Collection,” Heritage Auctions, April 2008, Lot 744 – $5,175; “The MKJ Collection, Part II,” Heritage Auctions, June 6, 2013, Lot 4438 – $7,050. Attractive crescent rainbow toning on the obverse and reverse.
  • NGC PF68* #1575644-001: Heritage Auctions, August 9, 2007, Lot 1029 – $2,760. Crescent toning in iridescent gold, green, and purple on the obverse. Fingerprint below IN GOD WE TRUST.
  • PCGS PR68 #9433460: Heritage Auctions, April 27, 2006, Lot 1426 – $7,475. Fully brilliant.
  • NGC PF68* #657214-002: As PCGS PR68 #4099434. Heritage Auctions, January 13, 2005, Lot 6315 – $6,900. As NGC PF68* #657214-002. Heritage Auctions, December 13, 2005, Lot 560 – $2,530. Crossed to NGC, Star designation added; Heritage Auctions, April 6, 2006, Lot 494 – $2,300. Crescent obverse toning in red, gold, and green. Streaks of toning across the face and in the left obverse field. Rim toning on the reverse.
  • PCGS PR68 #21765628: “The Bruce Scher #1 All-Time PCGS Registry Set,” Heritage Auctions, February 24, 2005, Lot 4081 – $6,900. Orange and red toning bracketing the left and right of the obverse.

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Design

Obverse:

Sculptor Adolph A. Weinman’s design features Liberty (of Thought) facing to the left. A winged cap adorns her head. Tufts of hair curl around the base of the cap on her forehead and behind her ear. A braid of hair wraps around the base of her neck. LIBERTY wraps around the top of the coin with letters spaced apart.

The letters E and R are partially obstructed by Liberty’s cap. The designer’s monogram (a “W” surmounting an “A”) appears behind Liberty’s neck below and to the left of the Y in LIBERTY. The date 1941 appears below the bust truncation to the rear. A subtle basin creates a dish-like appearance in the field.

Reverse:

In the center of the reverse of the 1941 Mercury Dime Proof is the fasces, a symbol of governmental authority used by the ancient Romans. An axe blade faces to the left. A curvilinear branch of olive leaves wraps behind the fasces. Wrapping around the top of the design is the legend UNITED · STATES · OF · AMERICA. Wrapping around the bottom of the design is the denomination ONE DIME. Two five-pointed stars separate the legend from the denomination. The motto E PLURIBUS UNUM (“Out of Many, One”) appears to the right of the fasces, slightly below center.

Edge:

The edge of the 1941 Mercury Dime Proof is reeded.

Designer

Adolph Alexander Weinman was born in Germany and immigrated to the United States as a teenager. He studied and worked under such famous American sculptors as Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Daniel Chester French. Weinman is responsible for two of the most iconic coin designs in U.S. history: the Mercury or Winged Liberty Dime and the Walking Liberty Half Dollar, both of which debuted in the annus mirabilis numismaticus of 1916. Weinman’s sons also became sculptors and coin designers, and he taught such pupils as Anthony de Francisci. Adolph Weinman died in 1952.

Coin Specifications

Country: United States of America
Year Of Issue: 1941
Denomination: 10 Cents (USD)
Mint Mark: None (Philadelphia)
Mintage: 16,557
Alloy: .900 Fine Silver
Weight: 2.5 g
Diameter: 17.9 mm
Thickness: 1.35 mm
Edge: Reeded
OBV Designer: Adolph A. Weinman
REV Designer: Adolph A. Weinman
Quality: Proof

 

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CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes presents expert analysis and insights from Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker, the award-winning editors of CoinWeek.com.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Where’s the market? I have a bicentennial quarter, mercury dime, silver certificate, but I don’t know who, what, when where, and how to have the certifications authorized.

    • To there are online auctions just Google it. Or eBay mine got stolen so sell them before something happens. Good luck to you Tamara.

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