Do you wonder if your 1939 dime is worth anything? Also known as Mercury Dimes or Winged Liberty head, the 1939 dime can be worth thousands of dollars depending on the condition of the coin.
In this article, I will explain how to identify how much your 1939 dime is worth. We delve a bit into the coin’s history, its unique features, and errors that might be worth hundreds or thousands. And of course, we shall unveil the true value of your 1939 error
Let’s get stated!
1939 Dime Value Chart
|Mint marks||Good||Fine||Extremely Fine||Uncirculated|
|1939 No-mintmark Dime Value||$3||$3.50||$4.75||$1250|
|1939 D Dime Value||$3||$3.35||$4.50||$450|
|1939 S Dime Value||$3.25||$4||$4.50||$800|
|1939 Proof Dime Value||–||–||–||$2,000|
History Of The 1939 Dime
The mercury dime was first struck in 1916 and was meant to replace the Barber dime, which had already been in circulation for the mandatory 25-years.
The United States Treasury Department rolled out a competition to find a suitable design for the new dime. The Department received more than fifty entries and in the end chose Adolf Weinman’s design. Weinman was already familiar with designing coins having designed the Walking Liberty half dollar, which is still in use today on the America Silver Eagle.
Weinman, a German-native, migrated to the United States as a teenager and learned the art of sculpturing from the renowned sculptor, Augustus Siant-Gaudens. His apprenticeship under the great sculptor helped him in designing coins for the United States repertoire of coins.
Chief Mint Engraver, Charles Barber had planned to assist Weinman to design for the new coin but Barber’s term came to an end before the two could collaborate so Weinman completed the Winged Liberty head design on his own.
There was a delay in releasing the new coins but the Mint finally released the dimes in October 1916 with more than 4.5 million of these coins minted in the first year alone. Initially, the public was not too impressed by Weinman’s design on both the obverse and reverse but after sometime, the Mercury dime gained national assistance.
The design features Lady Liberty in the image of Mercury, the Roman goddess of commerce. The Lady Liberty wears a cap but Weinman included wings on the cap to depicts the freedom of thought. The reverse of the coin featured an ax representing readiness for war in defense of the Union while the olive branch represented peace.
Weinman’s design persevered the World War II and lasted up to 1945 when the Mint replaced it with the Roosevelt design. The Mint struck commemorative Mercury dimes in 2016 to mark the coin’s 100th anniversary. The commemorative dimes were struck in 24k gold with the Mint producing only 125,000 dimes and collectors bought them all a few minutes they were released.
Features Of the 1939 Dime
In this section, we will look at the attributes of the 1939 dime. Knowing how to assess your coin can help you determine whether your dime from 1939 is worth anything.
The Obverse of the 1939 Dime
The obverse is the head of a coin, which is also the to-facing side of the coin. On the obverse of the 1939 dime the portrait of a left-facing Lady Liberty.
The Lady adorns the usual cap but wings are perched on the cap, behind the Lady’s ears. The designer intended for the wings to be symbolic of the freedom of thought.
The word LIBERTY appears around the entire top half of the coin while the motto IN GOD WE TRUST appears in smaller fonts on the left side in front of the Lady’s throat.
The date 1939, is inscribed toward the bottom of the coin underneath the lady’s truncated portrait.
The reverse of the 1939 Dime
The reverse is the tails or back side of a coin. The reverse of the 1939 features fasces, a vertical-standing bundle of wood rods held together with vertical bands at the top, middle, and bottom sections. The ends of an axe protrude on either side of the bundle of woods.
The fasces represent readiness to protect the country’s jurisdiction and the United States at large. Olive branches, representing peace, ensconce the fasces.
The words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA appear around the top half of the coin. There is a dot or period separating the individual words, UNITED, STATES, OF, AMERICA
The coin’s denomination, ONE DIME, is inscribed on the remaining space around the lower edge. The denomination UNITED STATES OF AMERICA are separated by a single star on the left and another star on the right.
The motto E PLURIBUS UNUM appears in smaller font on the right of the coin.
Other Features Of The 1939 Dime
The 1939 dime constitutes 90% silver and 10% copper. It weighs 2.5 grams and measures 17.9 mm in diameter and 1.95mm in thickness The coin has a smooth edge.
All dimes minted in 1939 have a mintmark except for those struck in Philadelphia. The San Francisco and Denver coins have a mintmark S and D, respectively, on the obverse located just behind the Lady Liberty’s neck.
1939 Dime Value Guides
If you are curious about the value of your 1939 dime, you will finally find out in this section. The value will generally depend on factors such as the condition, grade, and mintage.
In 1939, the Mint struck four varieties of the 1939 dime. These include the:
- 1939 No-mintmark dime
- 1939 D Dime
- 1939 S Dime
- 1939 Proof Dimes
Let’s now look at the value of each coin.
1939 No-Mint mark Dime Value
The mint at Philadelphia produced 67,740,000 dimes in 1939. Like other coin’s historically minted in Philadelphia, the 1939 dime did note have a mintmark.
Most of the dimes minted in 1939 were released into general circulation and with such as high mintage, it is safe to say that these dimes are very common in circulated and uncirculated conditions.
But 1939 P dimes with full bands (the horizontal bands that tie the bundle of wood at three points as depicted on the coin’s reverse) are extremely rare.
In circulated condition, 1939 no-mintmark dimes are worth between $3 and $7.50 but can fetch up to $1,250 in uncirculated, mint condition.
The most expensive no-mintmark dime from 1939 graded MS69 sold at $6,600 in 2021. A rare full band 1939 dime graded MS68 sold for $12,650 in 2000.
1939 D Dime Value
The Denver facility minted 24,394,000 in 1939. That year, the mint struck the Mercury Dime surprisingly well, delivering brilliant issues with a strong impression.
Many of the 1939-D dimes were released into circulation but an equally large number was hoarded. As a result, mint uncirculated Denver dimes are fairly commons as are circulated ones in the same year. Full Band Denver 1939 dimes are quite rare with only a few known examples.
In circulated condition, a 1939-D dime is valued in the range of $2.50 to $7.50 while in uncirculated condition, the coin is worth about $450.
In 2019, a rare Full Band 1939-D dime graded MS68 was sold at $42,300.
1939 S Dime Value
A total of 10,540,000 1939 dimes were minted at the San Francisco mint facility. The coin variety is not rare per se but it has a significantly lower mintage compared to the output in Philadelphia and Denver.
There are numerous examples of the 1939-S dime as most were released into general circulation. This coin is also relatively available in mint, uncirculated state, albeit in a small quantity. As usual 1939-S dimes with full bands very rare and typically fetch a lot.
In circulated condition, a 1939-S dime can fetch between $2.50 and $17 while in uncirculated, mint state the 1939-S dime is worth about $800.
The most expensive San Francisco dime from 1939 was graded MS68 and sold in 2019 at $2,160. A Full Band dime of the same year was graded MS68 and sold on 2000 for $10,350.
1939 Proof Dime Value
The Mint strikes proof coins for collectors interested in a coin or coin series and 1939 was no exception. A total of 9,321 1939 Proof dimes were struck that year at the Philadelphia mint.
Proofs are different from regular coins in that they present a brighter more lustrous appearance. The design is well struck with a strong impression, making for an extraordinarily beautiful coin.
Like most coins in the Mercury dimes series, the 1939 proof is quite rare, especially those in full cameo contrast.
All proofs are uncirculated so the value of each individual coin will depend on the condition and cameo contrasts. The value of a 1939 proof dime ranges between $120 and $2,000.
The most expensive, regular strike proof was graded at PR68 and sold at $21,600 in 2021.
1939 Dime Errors
Mint-related errors can drastically increase the value of any coin. There aren’t any many major errors in the 1939 Mercury dime series but those that exist can be worth hundreds of dollars.
Let’s look at the most common 1939 Dime Errors
1939 Reverse Cud Dime Error
Reverse cud dime errors are not so common in the Mercury Dimes series. But, most of these errors are observable on coins minted at the Philadelphia facility where dies were worn out or broken.
A cud error is a damaged spot on a coin. The damage raises above the coin’s surface and destroys part of the design where the error appears.
This error happens when the Mint uses die worn dies that result in die crack being imprinted onto the coin. Extreme die cracks or breaks can become cuds.
In a 1939 dime, a cud error is observable on the reverse next to word STATE. This coins is worth between $40 and $44.95.
1939 Doubled Die Dime Error
A doubled die errors draw a lot of interest among collectors and can be worth a lot depending on the extent of doubling the coin’s general condition.
Doubling occurs when the die strikes the coin’s design twice or even thrice but at slightly different angle each time.
There aren’t many examples of 1939 doubled die dime errors with a strong impression; those that exist only have subtle doubling but these are still worth collecting.
The doubling on the 1939 dime can be seen primarily on the obverse around the word LIBERTY, the date, and the motto, IN GOD WE TRUST.
Such a doubled die error coin can fetch between $40 and $50.
1939 Repunched Mintmark Dime Error
Repunched mintmark is the general name for an error involving a doubled, missing, or misplaced mintmark.
There are a few examples of repunched mintmark errors among the 1939 dimes minted in Denver and San Francisco. Majority of these examples are double-struck mints and a few show the mintmark imprinted slightly of place.
The 1939 repunched mintmark dime errors are worth between $20 and $25 but may fetch more depending on the extent of doubling or misalignment of the mintmark.
Below is a list of common questions and answers for collectors interested in the 1939 dime:
Where is the mintmark on a 1939 dime?
1939 dimes minted in Philadelphia do not have a mintmark. Those struck in Denver and San Francisco are have a D and S mintmark respectively and this can be found on the coin’s reverse close to the bottom of the olive branch on the left side.
Is a 1939 dime real silver?
Despite their name, Mercury dimes, including the 1939 series are made of 90% silver. Many collectors wonder about the melting value of these silver dime. The truth is even though the coin is made up of 90% silver, this is a very small amount of silver and even when silver prices are high, do not expect to fetch more than the metal’s bullion spot price. The real value of your 1939 dime will depend more on its condition on its silver content.
How much is a 1939 dime worth now?
Due to its small silver content, the 1939 is worth more than face value. In circulated condition, expect up to $7.50 for your coin or up to $1,250 for an uncirculated dime from 1939.