What Not Online Auctions

HomeUS Coins1942 Mercury Dime : A Collector's Guide

1942 Mercury Dime : A Collector’s Guide

1942 Mercury dime graded PCGS MS68FB. Image: David Lawrence Rare Coins.
1942 Mercury dime graded PCGS MS68FB. Image: David Lawrence Rare Coins.

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

The 1942 Mercury dime is a common date with an extremely interesting (and valuable) overdate variety. As for the regular issue, the Philadelphia Mint struck 205,410,000 dimes in 1942, a mammoth number of the small silver 10-cent coins that stood, at the time, as the most dimes ever struck in a single year. Philadelphia would beat this output in 1944 and then again in 1946. Compared to modern-day mintages, 200 million coins is about a month’s worth of dimes produced at either Philadelphia or the Denver Mint.

Considered a type coin, the 1942 Mercury dime is readily available in circulated grades and Mint State. Gems typically sell for about $25 to $30, and run-of-the-mill circulated examples retail for about two or three times the current spot price of silver. Strikes are usually full or nearly full, and it should not be difficult to locate examples with good eye appeal and Full Split Bands.

* * *

Market Data and Noteworthy Specimens

Dealer Lu Riggs offered uncirculated rolls for $7.00 in the August 1948 issue of The Numismatist.

In a January 1969 Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine ad, dealer Abner Kreisberg marketed a “Gem… Brilliant Uncirculated” example for $6.50.

Considered a type coin, the 1942 Mercury dime is readily available in circulated grades and Mint State. Gems typically sell for about $25 to $30, and run-of-the-mill circulated examples retail for about two or three times the current spot price of silver. Strikes are usually full or nearly full, and it should not be difficult to locate examples with good eye appeal and Full Split Bands, as approximately 60% of Mint State survivors have Full Split Bands.

The ultimate grade for a 1942 Mercury dime is MS68+FB; coins at the MS68FB or higher level sell for thousands of dollars at auctions. Beautifully-toned examples sometimes sell for premium prices.

Top Population: PCGS MS68+FB (1, 3/2024), NGC MS68FB (22, 3/2024), and CAC MS68FB (3:0 stickered:graded, 3/2024).

  • PCGS MS68+ #25787493: Heritage Auctions, August 10, 2016, Lot 3696 – $3,290; Heritage Auctions, October 31, 2016, Lot 3994 – $3,525; “The Five Generations of Eby Collection”, Heritage Auctions, January 11, 2019, Lot 5027 – $4,800.
  • PCGS MS68FB #40151948: David Lawrence Rare Coins, April 2, 2023, Lot 4206 – $2,515. The right side of the obverse has dark crescent-shaped toning in gold, red, and green, and the left side and reverse have dark rim toning.
  • NGC MS68FB #6072988-001: “The Fort Lee Collection, Part II,” Stack’s Bowers, November 2, 2022, Lot 6224 – $2,040. Brilliant.
  • PCGS MS68FB #25256809: Heritage Auctions, November 6, 2014, Lot 3664 – $6,462.50; “The Warren Collection,” Heritage Auctions, May 4, 2022, Lot 3387 – $3,600.
  • PCGS MS68FB #25551198: David Lawrence Rare Coins, January 23, 2022, Lot 4187 – $2,000.
  • PCGS MS68FB #42757141: Heritage Auctions, August 20, 2021, Lot 3713 – $3,366; Heritage Auctions, July 15, 2022, Lot 3639 – $2,880; “The Stephenville Collection,” Heritage Auctions, May 4, 2023, Lot 3807 – $2,280. Gold and red toning. There is an apparent fingerprint on the obverse.
  • NGC MS68FB #6060849-002: Heritage Auctions, December 16, 2021, Lot 3057 – $2,640.
  • PCGS MS68FB #40374529: David Lawrence Rare Coins, April 11, 2021, Lot 1158 – $5,300. The obverse shows splatters of copper and green toning.
  • PCGS MS68FB CAC #37907356: Legend Rare Coin Auctions, May 15, 2019, Lot 373 – $15,275. PQ rainbow toning.
  • PCGS MS68FB #25311008: Legend Rare Coin Auctions, June 25, 2015, Lot 317 – $4,935; Legend Rare Coin Auctions, September 27, 2018, Lot 410 – $5,522.50. Hallett on insert. Gold, orange, and green rim toning on the obverse. Gold, red, green, and purple toning on the reverse.
  • PCGS MS68FB #34597277: Heritage Auctions, April 27, 2018, Lot 4779 – $4,080.
  • NGC MS68FB #1851620-001: Heritage Auctions, September 14, 2006, Lot 1436 – $4,025; “The Joseph C. Thomas Collection, Part One,” Heritage Auctions, April 2009, Lot 334 – $2,760; Heritage Auctions, April 19, 2012, Lot 4148 – $4,887.50; “The Geyer Family Collection,” Heritage Auctions, November 1, 2013, Lot 3568 – $5,287.50. Soft green, orange, and magenta toning on the obverse.
  • PCGS MS68FB #21465192: “The Joshua II Collection of Mercury Dimes, #1 All-Time Finest PCGS Registry Set”, Heritage Auctions, August 12, 2010, Lot 4553 – $13,800. Joshua II on insert. Brilliant.
  • PCGS MS68FB #21264133: “The Stephen and Dianne Stokely Collection”, Heritage Auctions, July 26, 2003, Lot 6717 – $5,175. Stokely Collection on insert; Heritage Auctions, January 29, 2004, Lot 5687 – $5,290; “The Joseph C. Thomas Collection, Part One”, Heritage Auctions, April 29, 2009, Lot 333 – $7,475.
  • NGC MS68FB #279719-007: Heritage Auctions, July 28, 2002, Lot 7692 – $2,990. Top pop, pop one at NGC at the time of the sale.
  • PCGS MS68FB: “The Joshua Collection,” Heritage Auctions, October 6, 2000, Lot 7362 – $5,290. Top pop, pop one at PCGS at the time of the sale.

1942/1 Mercury Dime

The 1942/1 Mercury dime overdate (and doubled die) was discovered in 1943 by collector Arnold Kohn of Kingston, New York. It was widely publicized after an article about it appeared in Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine in March 1943. In May, Scrapbook published a photograph of the overdate. The variety became immediately popular and was listed in the standard references starting in 1945.

1942/1 Dime Diagnostics. Image: Heritage Auctions (visit www.ha.com) / CoinWeek.
1942/1 Dime Diagnostics. Image: Heritage Auctions (visit www.ha.com) / CoinWeek.

Doubled 4 has a notch at the top and behind the base of the 4. Undertype is also visible on the other digits of the date. Doubling on IN GOD WE TRUST and the Y in LIBERTY.

The Mercury dime variety was the result of a hubbing error, with the die being impressed by a 1941-dated hub and then a 1942-dated hub. A diagonal die polish line extends from the crossbar of the 4 to the rim and a reflective area behind Liberty’s neck. On the reverse appears a thin die polish line extending from the left side of the base of fasces to the stem of the olive branch.

A total of 166 1942/1 dimes were counted amongst the New York Subway Hoard coins. Numismatist Walter Breen claimed that most uncirculated examples came from four rolls discovered in 1954.

In the June 1961 issue of The Numismatist, dealer Lester Merkin offered an AU example of this “scarcer U.S. coin” for $95.

Top Population: PCGS MS67+FB (1, 3/2024), NGC MS66FB (1, 3/2024), and CAC MS66FB (2:0 stickered:graded, 3/2024).

  • PCGS MS67+ #46158239: NGC MS68. Goldberg Auctioneers, September 1999, Lot 1232; As PCGS MS67+ #46158239. “The Mahal Collection, Part VIII”, Heritage Auctions, January 12, 2023, Lot 3676 – $90,000.
  • PCGS MS66FB CAC #43577804: Legend Rare Coin Auctions, December 8, 2022, Lot 142 – Passed.
  • PCGS MS66FB #31814143: “The Charles McNutt Collection,” Heritage Auctions, January 10, 2019, Lot 4425 – $57,600.
  • PCGS MS66FB #50042014: “The Burgess Lee Berlin, M.D., J.D. Collection of Important United States Rarities,” Heritage Auctions, September 18, 2008, Lot 1772 – $71,875; Heritage Auctions, January 4, 2018, Lot 4809 – $120,000. Record price. Scattered brown toning under UNUM.
  • PCGS MS66FB #25668509: Heritage Auctions, January 7, 2016, Lot 5321 – $76,375.
1942/1 Mercury Dime graded PCGS MS66FB. Image: Stack's Bowers.
1942/1 Mercury Dime graded PCGS MS66FB. Image: Stack’s Bowers.
  • PCGS MS66FB #25253624: Stack’s Bowers, February 2015, Lot 1480 – Passed. Dark gold toning on the reverse in the area of UNITED STAT.
  • NGC MS66: “The Minot Collection,” Stack’s Bowers, Lot 1301 – Passed; “The Johnson-Blue Collection,” Stack’s Bowers, August 8, 2010, Lot 445 – $27,600.
  • PCGS MS66FB #21026802: Heritage Auctions, November 8, 2003, Lot 6115 – $46,000. Dominik/Joshua II on insert; “The Jack Lee Collection, III”, Heritage Auctions, November 2005, Lot 2089 – $46,000; Heritage Auctions, January 6, 2011, Lot 5497 – $60,950; “The Dr. Tory Presser Collection,” Stack’s Bowers, June 20, 2007, Lot 527 – $43,700.
  • PCGS MS66: “The Richard C. Jewell Collection,” Stack’s Bowers, March 8, 2005, Lot 1649 –  Passed.

* * *

Coin Specifications

Country: United States of America
Year Of Issue: 1942
Denomination: 10 Cents (USD)
Mint Mark: None (Philadelphia)
Mintage: 205,410,000
Alloy: .900 Silver, .100 Copper
Weight: 2.5 g
Diameter: 17.9 mm
Edge: Reeded
OBV Designer: Adolph A. Weinman
REV Designer: Adolph A. Weinman
Quality: Business Strike

 

* * *

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

Related Articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Heritage Auctions Consign

AU Capital Management US gold Coins

NGCX Holders and Grading