Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Mysterious Mercury Dime

The side of our garage had gotten a bit messy and out of control this summer and so it was high time we cleaned it up.  A lot of things we just wanted to deal with later got stashed there and then the grass started to grow, which of course we couldn't mow because of all the stuff piled there. 

When Dad needed the trailer to haul hay he stacked up a bunch of boxes of glass jars on the part that is a cement slab.   A couple of the jars had broken on the cement so I had a box out there and was going to pick up the shards before we mowed and transferred them out into the yard.  As I bent over to pick up a piece, right on top of the ground was a tarnished dime.  Excellent, I thought, if I have to do this undesirable job at least I will be a dime richer for doing so.  Just as I was about to slip the dime into my pocket before the kids coveted it, I saw it looked a little different.  I said to Dad, "Isn't this one of those Mercury dimes?"  

As an aside I found this bit of information: Technically they're called Liberty Head dimes but they almost immediately got the nickname "Mercury" dimes because Miss Liberty's winged cap looks similar to the one worn by the Greek god Mercury.  One of those learn something new every day facts.

I remembered as a kid my dad had a whole bunch of them and he kept them in slender, white, metal cigar tubes.  It was always exciting when we would get one in our change because he would get out the cigar tube and either my brother or I would get to put the dime in.  I don't think I have seen a Mercury dime since then. 

Dad said that he had one as a kid he used as a ball marker for golf.   When he got up the green, if his ball was in the way of other players putting, he would put the dime down to mark where his ball was. Some how there was suppose to be luck in the dime and that would make you golf better, or at the least make your golfing partners golf worse.  He doesn't have his lucky thin dime anymore and hasn't had one since he was a kid. 

I took the dime in the house and rubbed a little baking soda on it and sure enough, it was a 1943 Mercury dime. 

Now where it came from, we have no idea.  I found it laying right on top of the cement slab.  Not covered with dirt, or grass, or any other debris. We use to have our duck pen on the slab so it has been hosed off several times so it couldn't have been laying there for years and we just didn't notice it.  However it got there, and I assume we will never know, it was worth picking up.  I looked up the value and it probably worth about $2.00 - $3.00 since it has a little nick on the bottom rim.  With no mint mark and uncirculated it could have been worth up to an exciting $475. 

1 comment:

Swimtaxi said...

Thanks for the information. I had never heard/read about the dimes before.