How Much is a 1938 Mercury Dime Worth? (Price Chart)

The US Mint produced numerous coin types, including some valuable collectibles. Undoubtedly, Mercury dimes are among the most popular ever minted. Their production started in 1916 and lasted until the end of WWII, 1945.

Like many other 70+ old American coins, the 1938 Mercury dime value depends on its availability, condition, the mint mark, and silver bullion price. Most species are affordable, but proofs and dimes with an MS 68 rating can be pricey.

1938 Mercury Dime History

The Treasury Department decided to change the existing dime design in 1916. The new coin should have replaced the Barber dime minted from 1892 to that period. An Adolph A. Weinman‘s design showing Lady Liberty wearing a cap with wings won the competition on March 3, 1916.

1938 Mercury dime

Location Year Minted Price
Philadelphia 1938 22,190,000 $5+
Philadelphia 1938 proof 8,728 $600+
San Francisco 1938 S 8,090,000 $5+
Denver 1938 D 5,537,000 $6+
Total / 35,825,728 /

Liberty with a close-fitting Phrygian cap on her head represented freedom of thought. Unfortunately, most Americans concluded that the coin features the Roman god Mercury on the obverse.

As a result, only rare people knew that the official coin’s name was Winged Liberty Head. It is still well-known as the Mercury dime today.

1938 Mercury dime

Face value $0.10 (10 cents)
Compound 90% silver plus 10% copper
Silver weight 0.07234 troy ounces (2.25 g)
Coin weight 0.08038 troy ounces (2.5 g)
Coin diameter 070472 inches (17.9 mm)
Coin thickness 0.05315 inches (1.35 mm)
Edge Reeded
Shape Round

Besides winged Liberty, you can see the motto IN GOD WE TRUST placed on the left coin side and the word LIBERTY along the rim. The lower right side is reserved for the date and the letter W, the designer’s initials.

The complicated coin’s reverse design includes Roman fasces, an ancient symbol of strength and power. It was a crucial symbol of America’s readiness for the coming war at the time of creation.

An olive branch wrapping around fasces creates a balance as an international symbol of peace. The denomination and the country name are struck along the coin rim, while the unavoidable saying E PLURIBUS UNUM is placed on the right coin reverse side.

 

1938 Mercury Dime Types

1938 Mercury dime

1938 Mercury dime
Image

The highest Mercury dime number of 22,190,000 came from Philadelphia in 1938. Therefore, these coins are inexpensive, and you can buy one for $2 to $38. Even pieces in MS 67 grade are affordable and typically cost $65 to $80.

1938 Mercury dime value

Quality 1938 1938 S 1938 D
Good $2.3 $2.3 $2.3
Very good $2.8 $2.8 $2.8
Fine $3.4 $3.4 $3.4
Very fine $3.5 $3.5 $3.6
Extra fine $3.6 $3.89 $4.4
AU $6.6 $11 $9.3
MS 60 $12 $23 $21
MS 65 $35 $46 $40
Proof 65 $534 / /

(USA Coin book)

The 1938 MS 68 Full Band Mercury dime is relatively rare and expensive, so you need to set aside $4,200 to $5,000 to purchase it. The auction record holds the 1938 MS 68 Mercury dime sold for $14,375 in 2006.

1938 proof Mercury dime

1938 proof Mercury dime

Philadelphia struck 8,728 proof Mercury dimes in 1938, besides regular coinage. These beautiful coins are typically worthy, and you should pay at least $120 to $150 for a piece with a PR 60 rating.

1938 proof Mercury dime value

Quality 1938
PR 60 $120 to $144
PR 61 $125 to $150
PR 62 $135 to $162
PR 63 $155 to $178.25
PR 64 $185 to $212.75
PR 65 $220 to $253
PR 66 $275 to $316.25
PR 67 $400 to $460
PR 68 $1,600 to $1,840
PR 69 $14,000 to $16,100

(Greysheet)

An almost perfect specimen in PR 69 grade will cost you $14,000 to $16,100 at an auction. The most pricey 1938 PR 68 Mercury dime reached $32,200 at Heritage auctions in 2005.

1938 S Mercury dime

1938 S Mercury dime

The San Francisco mint produced 8,090,000 Mercury dimes in 1938, and their value is $2 to $175, depending on condition.

1938 Mercury dime value

Year Quality
Good Fine Extra fine Uncirculated
1938 $2.25 $3 $2.25 $7
1938 S $2.25 $3 $3.50 $12
1938 D $2.25 $3 $4 $11

(JM Bullion)

However, the 1938 S Full Band Mercury dime value is high, and you should be prepared to pay $4,500 to 6,000 for it. The 1938 S MS 68+ FB Mercury dime won an auction record when one collector paid $364,250 for it in 2019.

1938 D Mercury dime

1938 D Mercury dime

Even though Denver minted modest 5,537,000 Mercury dimes in 1938, those pieces are relatively affordable. You should pay $2 for a coin with a good grade, while the most valuable one in an MS 67 rating will cost you approximately $125 to $150.

On the other hand, the rare 1938 MS 68 Full Band Mercury dime is typically worth $3,000 to $4,000. The most expensive 1938 D MS 68 Mercury dime was paid $5,635 at auction in 2006.

 

1938 Mercury Dime Variety

1938 Full Bands Mercury dime

1938 Full Bands Mercury dime

Some Mercury dimes struck in 1938 feature crossband horizontal lines over the fasces on the reverse. These so-called Full Bands coins actually show the initial design that Weinman created.

1938 Full Band Mercury dime value

Quality 1938 FB 1938 FB S 1938 FB D
MS 61 $20 to $28 $26 to $36 $20 to $28
MS 62 $21 to $29 $30 to $40 $21 to $29
MS 63 $26 to $32 $38 to $45.60 $26 to $34
MS 64 $40 to $48 $60 to $72 $38 to $45.60
MS 65 $72 to $86.40 $135 to $162 $60 to $65
MS 66 $130 to $156 $240 to $288 $110 to $125
MS 67 $300 to $360 $600 to $900 $260 to $325
MS 68 $4,200 to $5,040 $4,500 to 6,000 $3,000 to $4,000

(by Greysheet)

Unfortunately, technical problems with dies prevented minting this perfect imagery, and only rare pieces struck with new dies looked as planned. Experts agree that only Mercury dimes containing all lines uninterrupted from side to side can get the Full Bands designation.

 

1938 Mercury Dime Set

1938 Mercury Dime Set

Many Americans consider Mercury (Winged Liberty Head) dimes one of the most beautiful US silver coins. Collectors who start buying them usually want to possess the entire set. Luckily, you can complete your collection regardless of the budget at your disposal.

It is possible to buy a complete date-mint set for $1,900 to $27,000, depending on the condition. A full date set is more affordable, and you should set aside a moderate $180 to $2,400 for one.

 

1938 Mercury Dime Grading

1938 Mercury Dime Grading

Uncirculated – The 1938 Mercury dime was kept safe in a coin bag before falling into the collectors’ hands. As a result, it is in the mint state with preserved texture and desirable luster. Even the highest points are sharp and intact, making this coin the most pricey.

1938 Mercury dime value

Quality 1938 1938 S 1938 D
Good $2.13 $2.13 $2.13
Very good $2.13 $2.23 $2.13
Fine $2.23 $2.23 $2.23
Very fine $3.08 to $3.18 $3.08 to $3.18 $3.08 to $3.18
Extra fine $3.68 $5 to $6.60 $5 to $6.60
AU $3.78 to $6.85 $6 to $15.60 $6 to $16.80
MS 60 $7 to $9 $16 to $19.20 $16 to $19.20
MS 61 $7 to $9 $18 to $21.60 $18 to $21.60
MS 62 $7 to $9 $20 to $24 $19 to $22.80
MS 63 $9 to $10 $21 to $25.20 $21 to $25.20
MS 64 $13 to $18 $29 to $34.80 $22 to $26.40
MS 65 $17 to $25 $31 to $38 $26 to $32
MS 66 $32 to $38.40 $50 to $65 $40 to $48
MS 67 $65 to $78 $140 to $175 $125 to $150

(Greysheet)

Extra fine – Since this dime spent only a limited time in circulation, it looks pristine, and you can expect to see only slight signs of wear. In most cases, only an expert can determine imperfections on its surface, often only with a magnifying glass.

Fine – Many people used this coin over the years and left traces of wear on its surface. You can expect light scratching and high points’ flattening on the coin’s surface, but the design integrity is not much compromised. Liberty’s hair curls and forehead are mostly merged, while a bundle of rods on the reverse now looks like simple vertical lines.

1938 Mercury dime value

Year Quality
Good Fine Extra fine Uncirculated
1938 $1.82 $1.95 $2.2 $7.9
1938 S $1.82 $1.95 $2.2 $20
1938 D $1.82 $1.95 $2.6 $21

(CoinStudy)

Good – In most cases, such a dime is worn out without delicate details and clear image lines. Most letterings are an outline, but it is still possible to recognize the date. Even though it spent years in circulation, some collectors appreciate its historical value and are prepared to add such a piece to their collections.

 

Summary

Mercury dimes are famous American silver coinage and among the most collectible pieces worldwide. If you want to buy the 1938 Mercury dime, you should check its condition and the mint mark to determine its availability and price. With fewer and fewer pieces available on the market, you can expect their value to increase over time.

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