The US Mint is easily one of the most popular mints in the world, and their products are sought after not only as currency, but as collector’s items as well. Through the mint’s 200+ year history, many coins have come off the presses and have made their way into the history books. One of these coins is the Mercury Dime, which was minted through most of the first half of the 20th century.
The Mercury Dime is a great precursor to the modern dime, and many believe that the imagery is superior to that of the currently circulating 10-cent piece. Being that this coin is no longer being produced, collectors the world over are trying to get their hands on it and add it to their collection. This is great, but as time moves forward there exists less and less of these coins available for purchase.
Because the Mercury Dime was produced so many decades ago, collectors are wary about purchasing them simply because condition cannot be guaranteed. For this reason, you will see collectors searching high and low for those Mercury Dimes that have been well-preserved through the years. Unfortunately, it is not always such an easy task to find a well-preserved Dime.
While most people would opt to send their Dimes away for grading to determine their official condition, most people have neither the time nor the money to do this. Instead, you will find below an outline of the characteristics of graded coins as to gain a better idea of what coins of certain grades look like.
Uncirculated: For a coin to be graded Uncirculated, it will have had to spend no time at all on the open exchange market. Because of their remaining in safekeeping throughout their lives, Mercury Dimes that are Uncirculated are some of the most desirable in the eyes of collectors. As you could have probably guessed, Uncirculated Dimes are also those that carry the largest price tags.
Extremely Fine: To receive this grade, the coin in question will have only spent a very limited amount of time in circulation. These coins will, at first glance, appear to be absolutely pristine, but under closer inspection you will be able to find some minor imperfections and extremely light wear. Though not of the highest grade, Extremely Fine Mercury Dimes are still heavily sought after by collectors.
Fine: A coin given the grade of Fine is one that was in circulation for a good bit of time, but did not incur large amounts of damage. Though there will be consistent light scratching on the coin’s surface, it will not be so heavy that the integrity of the coin’s design will have been compromised. Even in this condition, Mercury Dimes are still prized in the eyes of collectors.
Good: Good is the grade given to Mercury Dimes that spent decades upon decades in circulation and were heavily damaged along the way. Because the Mercury Dime was such a popular coin, this grader is not all that uncommon. Still, these coins are sought after by collectors simply because of their age and historical significance.
For coins as old as the 1938 Mercury Dime, there are a few factors you must first consider before you can understand what you can expect to pay for one. First, the condition of the coin means everything. Naturally, coins that are in better condition will sell for higher prices than those in poor condition. Being that 2 to 3 different types of Mercury Dimes were minted during most years, you will find that the specific type of Dime you have also plays into how much you will pay for it. The chart below will give you a better idea of what you might be asked to pay for a Mercury Dime from 1938 given its type and grade.
|1938 Mercury Dime||$2.25||$3||$2.25||$7|
|1938 Mercury Dime (D)||$2.25||$3||$4||$11|
|1938 Mercury Dime (S)||$2.25||$3||$3.50||$12||Source: Red Book|