Description and Analysis

Mercury Dimes
1918 10C MS

Description & Analysis

This was another very high mintage issue from the war years, and circulated pieces are plentiful in grades below VF. The higher circulated grades are seldom seen, but their values are held in check by a good population of Mint State pieces through MS 64. Gems are moderately scarce, especially with Full Bands. Coins having FB are more likely to submitted one or more times, and this accounts for the slightly misleading population numbers.

The obverse master hub was modified yet again in 1918, but in this instance there were no transitional varieties; all dimes dated 1918 and later display this same hub. It is recognizable by the raised lip around the V on Liberty's cap where it points toward her neck. Another, very obvious distinction is that each feather in her wing now has a fine, raised line around its outer edge. Finally, this wing, which formerly dropped off toward the field where it extends beyond the cap, hereafter remains on the same plain and is thus cut more deeply over the coin's field.

This change in relief is not readily evident on Mint State coins, but it becomes obvious on well worn pieces. Dimes of the older obverse hubs will still show much detail on the tips of the feathers, while those from the new hub wear more evenly on the feathers.

The new obverse hub is richly detailed, and 1918(P) dimes that were sharply struck from fresh dies reveal far greater intricacy in the hair and feathers. Unfortunately, most 1918(P) dimes are weakly struck at their peripheries, as on the reverse of the example illustrated. The sharpness of this new hub was lost with repeated use, but the fine details survived into the early 1920s before softening on all later dates.