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Why is the Mercury dime called the Mercury dime?

Written by Subject: Precious Metals
Why is the Mercury dime called the Mercury dime?
Answer:
Technically the coins are supposed to be called Liberty dimes and the winged Liberty cap worn by Miss Liberty is supposed to symbolize freedom. But the design looks so much like the winged helmet worn by the Greek god Mercury that people nicknamed the coin a "Mercury" dime almost as soon as it was released, and the name has stuck for almost a century.
One thing its design does not depict, however, is Mercury, the messenger of the gods in Roman mythology. The portrait on its obverse is actually that of Liberty wearing a winged cap symbolizing freedom of thought. Thus, the coin more properly is known as the Winged Head Liberty dime. But the misnomer "Mercury" was applied to it early on, and after many years of common usage, has stuck. 

1 Comments in Response to

Comment by Ryan Gauger
Entered on:

Ernie may not like FDR on his real money... but the Mercury-- I mean "Liberty" dime has the wunderbar fasces on the reverse.  Ugh!  The state knew what it was doing when it placed its "image and inscription" upon the coin, whether it was 1920 or 1970.


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