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So who remembers Mercury dimes in circulation?

Dave99BDave99B Posts: 8,239 ✭✭✭✭✭

I became interested in collecting coins when I was 12 years old, in around 1968. I vividly remember going through rolls of dimes and finding two or three circulated Mercuries in every roll. I’d always pull them out and tossed them in a jar. I was interested in them because they were different, not so much because they were silver. I’d occasionally get Walkers and Frankins in change as well, but I couldn’t afford to save them. Way too much money for a kid with a paper route.

I had older brothers who worked various retail jobs, and they would watch for ‘interesting’ coins for me. They would occasionally bring home an oddball coin for me. One brother even got a Shield Nickel in change once, at a gas station. 50 years later, I still have that virtually slick nickel.

Man, those were magical times!


Always looking for original, better date VF20-VF35 Barber quarters and halves, and a quality beer.


  • RollermanRollerman Posts: 1,818 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I was in college in 1964 and worked as a wholesale candy salesman. I also delivered and bought the silver coins that I'd get paid upon delivery. I remember my mother putting Mercury dimes in rolls to go to the bank. That was how she saved money partially, accumulating dimes and turning them in (this was in the 40's and 50's). I've always loved the design of the Mercury's and also Walking Liberty half dollars as well. Some years later, I started going through the dimes and filling a coin album.

    "Ain't None of Them play like him (Bix Beiderbecke) Yet."
    Louis Armstrong
  • tommy44tommy44 Posts: 2,158 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I do, received many of them when collecting on my paper route on Saturday mornings in the late 1950s. In the 50s all dimes, quarters and halves were silver. Unfortunately I couldn't save them all but saved at least on of each date and mint for my blue foldout Whitman folders. I even remember receiving an occasional Barber coin or Buffalo nickel.

    it's crackers to slip a rozzer the dropsy in snide

  • 291fifth291fifth Posts: 23,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Up until the mid-late 1960's Mercury dimes were very common in circulation.

    All glory is fleeting.
  • oldabeintxoldabeintx Posts: 1,463 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Started about 1955. All the classics plus some Barbers and IHC's could be found in circulation. Common and worn though. Gold was pegged at $35/oz. Wish my paper route paid better, but I did ok buying "uncirculated" coins. Wish my father had the bug.

  • CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 31,257 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @291fifth said:
    Up until the mid-late 1960's Mercury dimes were very common in circulation.

    Yes. Probably 20-30% of an average roll in 1964.

    Numismatist. 50 year member ANA. Winner of four ANA Heath Literary Awards; three Wayte and Olga Raymond Literary Awards; Numismatist of the Year Award 2009, and Lifetime Achievement Award 2020. Winner numerous NLG Literary Awards.
  • ElcontadorElcontador Posts: 7,373 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 7, 2022 10:26AM

    @291fifth said:
    Up until the mid-late 1960's Mercury dimes were very common in circulation.

    He's right. Before they stopped making silver coins, they were used in commerce over and over again.
    I even found some Barber coinage in change as a kid in the late 50s, early 60s. Filled most of my coin albums with change finds. Most Buffalo Nickels, Mercury Dimes and Washington Quarters.

    This was the time that Las Vegas used actual silver dollars in their dollar slot machines.

    "Vou invadir o Nordeste,
    "Seu cabra da peste,
    "Sou Mangueira......."
  • lkeneficlkenefic Posts: 7,477 ✭✭✭✭✭

    You all must have picked them because I'd rarely see Mercury dimes in rolls... circa 1970's.

    I would capture a bunch of 90% Rossies, Washington Quarters, and the odd half Dollar. Also 40% nickels were pretty common...

    Collecting: Dansco 7070; Middle Date Large Cents (VF-AU); Box of 20;

    Successful BST transactions with: SilverEagles92; Ahrensdad; Smitty; GregHansen; Lablade; Mercury10c; copperflopper; whatsup; KISHU1; scrapman1077, crispy, canadanz, smallchange, robkool, Mission16, ranshdow, ibzman350, Fallguy, Collectorcoins, SurfinxHI, jwitten, Walkerguy21D, dsessom.
  • goldengolden Posts: 8,805 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I started collecting coins in 1961. I very much remember Mercury Dimes in circulation. I think I found all dates and mints from circulation except the 1916-D.

  • alaura22alaura22 Posts: 2,077 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 7, 2022 10:51AM

    Ahhh, I remember,,,,
    I had 3 paper routes. On collection day, usally Saturday when everyone was home I had one customer that ALWAYS paid me with a walking liberty half, the paper was 25c a week and 25c tip! 60 years later I still remember him and the house he lived in.
    I also remember going to the bank and getting rolls of pennies, sitting outside the back and going through them, once in a while a indian cent was found WOO HOO. They were all wheeties so only the mintmarked coins got saved. When I reached the point where I had no more money to get more rolls I went home
    Yes, those were the days...............

  • jesbrokenjesbroken Posts: 8,709 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I got probably my first 50+ Mercury Dimes out of change, several 26 S and at least one or two 21's. Didn't call it roll hunting then, as I would go to the bank with a dollar to exchange for dimes. They were all silver at that time so Mercs were fairly common. I remember in the mid 60's they offered half rolls and if I remember right it was because of the hoarding of change due to switch from silver. I haven't seen half rolls since then.

    When a man who is honestly mistaken hears the truth, he will either quit being mistaken or cease to be honest....Abraham Lincoln

    Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.
  • OKbustchaserOKbustchaser Posts: 5,411 ✭✭✭✭✭

    They're still in circulation; I find 5 or 6 in my change every year.

    Now, if you're asking when they had mostly disappeared, I would say by the late 1960s to early 1970s.

    Just because I'm old doesn't mean I don't love to look at a pretty bust.
  • ernie11ernie11 Posts: 1,879 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Lived on a farm as a kid and we had a vegetable stand, that's how I came across lots of change to look over. Often found Mercury Dimes in change. Never found any rare ones, I do recall getting a 1916 and a 1918-S.

  • CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 31,257 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @crazyhounddog said:
    I do😊 but I’m old as dirt so there’s that.

    I am not as old as dirt, but I am older than mud!

    Numismatist. 50 year member ANA. Winner of four ANA Heath Literary Awards; three Wayte and Olga Raymond Literary Awards; Numismatist of the Year Award 2009, and Lifetime Achievement Award 2020. Winner numerous NLG Literary Awards.
  • cladkingcladking Posts: 28,124 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I started collecting in 1957. There were about 6 roosies for every 4 mercs at that time.

    A few mercurys were in VF but I don't recall seeing anything higher until 1975 I got a slider 1935 in change. Better dates by '57 were seen only in very worn or cull condition.

    Tempus fugit.
  • mavs2583mavs2583 Posts: 199 ✭✭✭✭

    I found one a couple of years ago in change, does that count? :D

  • tommyrusty7tommyrusty7 Posts: 1,629 ✭✭✭✭

    I started collecting coins in the late 1940's.
    Couda, soulda, wooda is all I have to say.
    Back then a lot of things sold for a penny and money was hard to come by so who could afford to save change.

  • BJandTundraBJandTundra Posts: 382 ✭✭✭✭

    Found every type mentioned to this point in the thread. Looking through change or rolls in the fifties was really fun then.

  • CoinHoarderCoinHoarder Posts: 2,313 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 7, 2022 4:55PM

    I remember when Mercury Dimes circulated in the mid 60s. Although very common and available everywhere at the time, It was very rare to find one in circulation from the teens or twenties. I still have some that I pulled from circulation back then. The oldest one that I found was a very heavily worn 1916. I took that 1916 and scrubbed it real good with baking soda and water. I still have that coin somewhere. To this day, it still looks like a shiny and polished hubcap.

  • thebeavthebeav Posts: 3,732 ✭✭✭✭✭

    With my paper route in the late 60's, I often had Mercury's, Buffalos, standing quarters.......I don't remember ever getting Indian cents, Liberty nickels or any Barbers.......I do remember getting a Columbian half though.....

  • pursuitoflibertypursuitofliberty Posts: 6,356 ✭✭✭✭✭

    From about 1972 up until maybe 1976, I still occasionally saw a Mercury, Buffalo or Franklin in change for the money I earned and spent mowing yards, splitting logs and doing other odd jobs. As in, a few each per year. Walkers and Standing Lib's were rarer. Occasionally I was paid with a Peace Dollar or two.

    “We are only their care-takers,” he posed, “if we take good care of them, then centuries from now they may still be here … ”

    Todd - BHNC #242
  • JeffMTampaJeffMTampa Posts: 3,238 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I remember finding Mercury Dimes in circulation in the late '60's. M still have a worn '17 D from circulation; I remember dreaming it was from a year earlier.

    I started looking for coins about 1966. There were no Barbers or Indians, but a few Buffalo Nickles and plenty of Standing Liberty Quarters (which I couldn't afford to keep). Fun times plugging holes on the coin boards!

    I love them Barber Halves.....
  • Type2Type2 Posts: 13,985 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It wasn’t till the 80’s I starting plugging holes. Wait we are talking coins?

    Hoard the keys.
  • rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    IHC's, Buffs, Mercs, SLQ's, Walkers were common change in late '40's and '50's.... Paper routes and lawn mowing etc. provided lots of change... but could not keep any... other than some IHC's at the time. You could buy penny candy back then - real chocolate and jelly filled :o:D It was a different time, and money was scarce. Cheers, RickO

  • ms71ms71 Posts: 1,432 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Yup. When I was a kid (early 1960s), you'd occasionally even find a BTW or Washington-Carver commemorative half in change, and once or twice I got a very well-worn Columbian half. Showed them to my buddies & spent them. 50¢ was ten candy bars, popsicles, or packs of baseball cards after all.

    Successful BST transactions: EagleEye, Christos, Proofmorgan,
    Coinlearner, Ahrensdad, Nolawyer, RG, coinlieutenant, Yorkshireman, lordmarcovan, Soldi, masscrew, JimTyler, Relaxn, jclovescoins

    Now listen boy, I'm tryin' to teach you sumthin' . . . . that ain't an optical illusion, it only looks like an optical illusion.

    My mind reader refuses to charge me....
  • HydrantHydrant Posts: 7,773 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @PerryHall said:
    I remember seeing Indian cents, buffalo nickels, Mercury dimes, Standing Liberty quarters, Walking Liberty half dollars, Morgan dollars, and Peace Dollars in change. In fact, you could go to your bank and get all the Mongan and Peace dollars that you want for face value. I would occasionally see older coin types such as Barbers and Liberty Head nickels. I remember buying a nice uncirculated Saint for $47 which was a lot of money for a teen cutting the neighbor's grass for $2.

    Same here.

  • BillJonesBillJones Posts: 33,033 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I remember them well. My mother called them, “Old lady dimes.”

    There was a joke from her generation about the head if the ax that is on the reverse, which shaped like the top of a roof on a horse and buggy.

    “Do see that carriage top on the back of this dime?”


    “Do you see that couple smooching inside?”


    “Well, what do you expect for a dime?

    Retired dealer and avid collector of U.S. type coins, 19th century presidential campaign medalets and selected medals. In recent years I have been working on a set of British coins - at least one coin from each king or queen who issued pieces that are collectible. I am also collecting at least one coin for each Roman emperor from Julius Caesar to ... ?
  • I remember them from school in the early 60s. used them for lunch money. Also standing liberty quarters were still showing up regularly too.

  • rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @joe_45c ... Welcome aboard. Those were good times with silver clinking in the pocket. Even nickel draft beers... Cheers, RickO

  • labloverlablover Posts: 3,509 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @keyman64 said:
    Pretty Merc @lablover

    My father died a couple of weeks ago. He was 86 (born 1935) He got me started in coins when I was 8, specifically with Mercs, when he handed down about 8 full folders of Mercs that he put together from circulation. He never found the 16-Ds or varieties though.

    I'm sorry to hear the loss of your father. Dads are very special people.

    "If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers
  • BryceMBryceM Posts: 11,593 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 9, 2022 10:13AM

    Ha not me! To my knowledge, I've only ever received one silver coin in circulation. It was a 68 Kennedy. Here in the West they actually circulated a bit, back in the day.

  • seatedlib3991seatedlib3991 Posts: 314 ✭✭✭

    I am not sure if my story qualifies as a circulation story . You decide.
    I was a teenager in the 1970's. Around the corner from us lived a family named the Kirby's.
    Mr. Kirby died. Some time after that Mrs. Kirby called me and made the following offer. I would do whatever work she needed done (think mow lawn, rake leaves, scoop snow, paint fence etc.) Any week I had to work she would pay me 5 Mercury dimes. We conducted that transaction on and off for around 2 and a half years. Then she remarried and moved away.
    On the one hand I had no control over date, mint or condition. (Didn't care because half the thrill was tearing open that envelope and finding out what was inside.) So in some ways it was a simple trade of payment for services rendered. On the other hand I have to wonder how many people were using Mercury dimes to pay their bill in 1975.

  • leothelyonleothelyon Posts: 8,300 ✭✭✭✭✭

    My dad pulled a RV across the country in the early 1990's and at one of his stops he received a roll of dimes half full of uncirculated Mercs, the other half silver Roosvelt dimes.


    The more qualities observed in a coin, the more desirable that coin becomes!

    My Jefferson Nickel Collection

  • CameonutCameonut Posts: 7,235 ✭✭✭✭✭

    In our family it was tradition to give filled dime saver books to infants when baptized. These little books typically held $3 in dimes. When I was born in 1954, I received about 6 of these books. When I showed an interest in coin collecting in 1961, my parents gave them to me so I could start filling a blue trifold Whitman album. Of course, all of the dimes were silver and at least half were Mercury dimes. I still have them.

    I continued to fill the Whitman albums for several years before most of the silver disappeared from circulation.

    “In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." - Thomas Jefferson

    My digital cameo album 1950-64 Cameos - take a look!

  • mr1931Smr1931S Posts: 5,757 ✭✭✭✭✭

    A few months ago I found a 1945 dated Mercury dime in the reject slot of the Coinstar I religiously check everytime I visit the store the machine is located in so apparently they still circulate in 2022.

  • jackpine20jackpine20 Posts: 118 ✭✭✭

    I was in fourth grade in 1977-8. One day, after landing in the sandbox, I found a Mercury dime and thought 1944 was "almost as old as my parents!" It was my secret until we got back in the classroom where the word was circulating that at least a couple of my classmates had found Mercury dimes in the sand as well. My mom showed me how to clean it with baking soda and water. I still have it. The only Merc I found in circulation happened about three or four years ago. I still have that one, too, but I didn't clean it.

    Matt Snebold

  • nwcoastnwcoast Posts: 2,708 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Yep. I remember them from when I was a kid in the early 1960’s.
    Those, and even the occasional worn or slick Standing Liberty Quarters and Walkers.
    I have several original bank rolls of dimes that were hoarded in 1964- for silver- when switching to clad.
    They are real time capsules of the period. Some I haven’t even cracked yet but those I have usually have a few Mercury dimes in there.

    Happy, humble, honored and proud recipient of the “You Suck” award 10/22/2014

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