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Brother, can you spare a Mercury dime?


Hihosilver
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Hi. I'm a new coin collector and a new member of this forum. I'd like to start collecting mercury dimes in fine or better condition. I have a 1944 in very fine condition that I got from my Dad and I just love the look of it. Plus, most of them are cheap enough to buy that I can get a pretty good collection. Eventually, I'd like to get a complete set - except maybe for some of the key dates like the 1916-D, which would be waaay out of my price range. For that reason, I don't need any fancing grading. What I really need is someplace I can get them online. I need a vendor with good prices whose grading I can trust. Preferably someone who offers free shipping because I'd hate to pay as much in shipping as I do for the coin(s). It would also be great if I could see a good picture of the actual coin I'd be buying. I have a coin shop nearby but they don't really have a very good selection. Does anyone have any suggestions?

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Hi. I'm a new coin collector and a new member of this forum.

Welcome to the hobby -- and welcome to Coin People! :ninja: I think you'll find that it's a great place to hang out here.

 

I'd like to start collecting mercury dimes in fine or better condition. I have a 1944 in very fine condition that I got from my Dad and I just love the look of it. Plus, most of them are cheap enough to buy that I can get a pretty good collection. Eventually, I'd like to get a complete set - except maybe for some of the key dates like the 1916-D, which would be waaay out of my price range. For that reason, I don't need any fancing grading. What I really need is someplace I can get them online. I need a vendor with good prices whose grading I can trust. Preferably someone who offers free shipping because I'd hate to pay as much in shipping as I do for the coin(s). It would also be great if I could see a good picture of the actual coin I'd be buying. I have a coin shop nearby but they don't really have a very good selection. Does anyone have any suggestions?

I think it will be a very rewarding challenge for you, but my suggestion would be to try to find these in AU or better. Since you are willing to forego the key dates for now anyway, why not try to hunt down all the ones you can afford in UNC? There are plenty of nice ones out there. You can hone your grading skills by going online to the Heritage website (www.ha.com). They sell mostly slabbed coins, but usually have great (and large) photos in the auction archives (note that you have to sign up for a free account before you can look at the large photos). Then you can try to tell the difference between MS-64 and MS-65, for example, or spot coins that you might think are over- or undergraded.

 

I think you'll have a hard time finding these online, as you say, because of the shipping charges. You really need to buy several together to make it worth the shipping, unless it is a rare date. As to other sources, you might try local coin shows or dealers in other cities. Put together a wish list and call up any dealers which you can find within a reasonable radius of where you live. If you plan on making a trip to a larger city nearby (who doesn't once in a while?) you could probably combine that with a visit to a dealer who just might have a good stock of Mercs. I bought this one, for example, for a whopping $2 at a coin shop in Bryan, Texas:

 

USA_Mercury_Dime_1944-D.jpg

(Hey, I just noticed that it has a neat die clash on the reverse!)

Good luck! ;)

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If you want circulated later date Mercs you might consider purchasing a mixed dates roll. You get some nice coins and don't usually pay much over melt. Also I'd suggest you try to find a local coin club and participate there. You'll meet a lot of nice folks and most have a small bourse and auction at each meeting.

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I'd like to start collecting mercury dimes in fine or better condition. I have a 1944 in very fine condition that I got from my Dad and ... Does anyone have any suggestions?

 

My recommendation is to consider several alternatives before making a decision. First, even though the 1916-D might seem too expensive, it is the key coin and worth saving for. That said, it is the one coin in my Whitman that I do not have. I completed the set except for that and most of them I bought from a dealer who let me go through bags of silver dimes.

 

Depending on where you live, you are probably close to an ANA Member Dealer. The American Numismatic Association lists dealers under the left tab "Membeship" with a seach by ZipCode or State or etc. ANA Member Dealers are kept to a code of ethics. If you find an ANA Member Dealer within a drive of your house, it can worthwhile to call and see if they have Mercury Dimes in bags. Tell them what you want to do and why and they can be willing to let you come in and fill as much of your Whitman Folder as you can.

 

Local coin clubs, and local shows are other options for you. You might have an ANA Member Club near you. (Again, under Membership at the left of the homepage.) Clubs are very helpful. Club shows often are venues for local collectors to be dealers for a day and you can find helpful, informative peers.

 

We have a saying, "Buy the book before you buy the coin," attributed to Aaron Feldman a legendary dealer of the previous generation. In this case the book you want is The Complete Guide to Mercury Dimes‎ by David W. Lange. That said, this book is not absolutely critical to your enjoyment or profit. The Mercury Dime is a series with very few surprises: consistent, machine age, industrial era, mass production. Though some varieties have been discovered since that book was written in 1993, this is not like early US Mint work before the 20th century, with lots of rarities and oddities. The Mercury Dime is easy to collect well.

 

Higher grades are affordable. Dealers sell uncirculated Mercury Dimes from the World War II years for $5 or $10 depending on how much frost the coin has. You can find them for a couple of dollars as About Uncirculated ("sliders" - might slide by in the higher grade if you are not paying attention) in dealer inventory pretty easily.

 

However, industirial production is a limiting process and the later years simply lack the ultrafine details in the highest grades. I have a 1916-P (not D, just P) in Unc and for the $20-$30 for a simple MS-60 or up to $50 for a Mint State 63, it is worth it to have one coin far better than all the others. In the first years of production, the workmanship was more careful.

 

As for the others, at least start with a "Red Book" (A Guide Book of United States Coins by Yeoman and Bressett.) They are cheap new and even cheaper used. The facts do not change and the prices are largely irrelevant even before the book is published, but it will give you information about the coin, its key dates, mintages, and approximate pricing levels.

(The Great Depression affected most coins, but dimes were still needed. Also, there are no 1922 silver coins for a couple of reasons, but the fact remains: no 1922 dimes.)

 

I like the Mercury Dime myself, for several reasons. When I got my first username in 1984, it was Mercury (patron god of merchants and thieves). So, I stuck with it. I have an ancient Roman coin with Mercury, for instance. I met David Lange at an ANA convention, by the way, one of many reasons to join.

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