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According to David W. Lange's The Complete Guide to Mercury Dimes, rapidly rising silver prices from 1916 through 1919 threatened to destabilize the market in India, which craved the precious metal and was experiencing widespread speculation and hoarding. India was then the 'jewel in the crown' of America's World War I ally Great Britain. The Pittman Act of 1918 mandated the melting of more than 270 million silver dollars. The silver was to be sold to Great Britain, so it could flood the Indian market. But the melting was postponed until after the war's end, by which time the Indian market threat had subsided. The excess silver was put to use in production of U.S. minor coinage: half dollars, quarters, and dimes. The mintage of 1920 Philadelphia Mercury dimes, at more than 59 million coins, was the largest so far in the series. Despite this, only a handful of Superb Gem, Full Bands examples have been graded.
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