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Description

1916-D Mercury Dime, MS67 Full Bands
Speckled Iridescence Over Thick Mint Frost
Tied for Finest Known

1916-D 10C MS67 Full Bands PCGS. CAC. The artistry of Augustus Saint-Gaudens and the impetuosity of President Theodore Roosevelt spurred a numismatic renaissance that continued to a new generation of artists who trained with, were influenced by, or assisted "the Saint."

Those artists include:

--James Earle Fraser, designer of the Buffalo nickel that debuted in 1913;
--Bela Lyon Pratt, whose novel reduced relief quarter eagle and half eagle designs appeared in 1908, shortly after Saint-Gaudens' death;
--Adolph Weinman, a double winner in the design sweepstakes, taking on the Mercury dime and Walking Liberty half dollar, both premiering in 1916;
--John Flanagan, whose Washington quarter design would debut, originally as a commemorative coin, in 1932; and
--Charles Keck, originator of the 1915-S Panama-Pacific gold dollar.



The new Mercury dime debuted to rave reviews on the part of the most influential numismatists of the era, many of whom were quoted in the December 1916 issue of The Numismatist. Farran Zerbe, Henry Chapman, Edgar Adams, Wayte Raymond, B. Max Mehl, Thomas Elder, Howland Wood, and T. Louis Comparette all spoke glowingly of the new dime design. Elder, in particular, waxed eloquent:

"We have in the new United States dime, designed by Adolph Alexander Weinman, the handsomest American coin. The winged head of Liberty is a real portrait of great beauty and finish. Our American girl in this instance is youthful, refined, and of gentle expression. The addition of wings to the head is taken from ancient art of emblems. The head is not unlike those of [Oscar] Roty and [Jules-Clément] Chaplain shown on so many modern French coins and medals. The obverse lettering is beautifully simple. ..."


Although three mints produced the first-year Mercury dimes -- Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco -- the D-mint utterance was a pittance compared to those of the other mints. It would nonetheless be the mid-1930s, with the introduction of coin boards for collectors, before the 1916-D dime's elusive nature would be fully grasped. It is only the chance survival of a greater number of first-year dimes from all mints that prevents the 1916-D today from being prohibitively rare, rather than extremely elusive.

Predictably for an issue with such a small mintage, very few are known today in the highest grades. None have been certified by either service finer than the present piece, and few can be called a peer. The mint luster glows with rich mint frost beneath speckled, multicolored iridescence seen over each side. This extraordinary coin qualifies for entry into only the finest set of Mercury dimes. Population: 7 in 67 Full Bands, 0 finer (9/13).(Registry values: N10218) (NGC ID# 23GY, PCGS# 4907)

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Auction Dates
November, 2013
1st-3rd
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