By Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez for Coinweek …….
The United States Mint just released new details about the highly anticipated 2016 Mercury Dime Centennial Gold Coin, including its launch date, finish quality, and mintage figures. The new gold Mercury dime will go on sale at 12 Noon Eastern Time on April 21.
Mint officials are surely gearing up for a busy Thursday, as household ordering limits are set at 10 pieces.
A maximum of 125,000 will be minted, and given the excitement over this long-awaited coin it’s realistic to hypothesize that a sellout could happen within days. The U.S. Mint has yet to reveal a price, but given the fact that this 0.9999-fine, 24-karat gold coin contains one-tenth of an ounce of precious metal, retail will likely exceed $150 given the prevailing spot price of gold.
Another notable detail about this gold coin is that it is being offered in a matte, business-strike quality finish. This is in keeping with the original uncirculated strike quality for Mercury dimes when they were first released in 1916. To the chagrin of perhaps a few numismatists, the Mercury Dime Centennial Gold Coins are being struck at the West Point Mint and will bear “W” mintmarks. Many coin collectors had hoped that the 2016 gold Mercury dime would be struck at the Denver mint so the coin would bear a “D” mintmark, a symbolic homage to the scarce and highly collectible 1916-D Mercury dime.
As at least one saving grace in regards to the mintmark, the “W” is located on the reverse to the right of the “E” in “ONE,” replicating the original location of the mintmark on Mercury dimes of yore.
The coin, which remains largely faithful to Adolph A. Weinman’s original 1916 Mercury dime motif, measures 17.9 millimeters in width and contains Weinman’s AW monogram behind the nape of Liberty’s neck on the obverse.
One aspect of the design that did stir up some criticism from the numismatic community is the inclusion of the legally-mandated “AU 24K” and “1/10 OZ.” gold markings required on most modern gold coins. The Mint attempted to mitigate the impact of the markings on the coin, however, and placed them (in small print) below E PLURIBUS UNUM on the reverse, to the lower right of the fasces.
The 2016 gold Mercury dime is offered in a handsome black matte hardwood presentation case with a Certificate of Authenticity. The sleek black box has a unique swooped front, which appears to be a stylistic cue taken from the curved elements of Miss Liberty’s winged cap.
The details released by the U.S. Mint answer several questions eager coin collectors have had about the 2016 gold Mercury dime and the complementary gold 2016 Standing Liberty quarter and 2016 Walking Liberty half dollar coins that will become available at later points in the year (both release dates listed as “TBD” or “To Be Determined” in the Mint’s online product schedule).
Nevertheless, other technical questions have yet to be answered.
For example, each of the three 2016 Centennial Gold Coins is being released individually, and presumably upward in denomination from the Mercury dime through the Walking Liberty half dollar. But we are still left to wonder if the United States Mint will release a three-coin proof set late this year in time for holiday shopping, or whether the Mint will release other variations of the three coins before the year is over.
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