1935 Dime Coin Value: How Much Is It Worth?

1935 Dime Value

If you’ve ever had a nickname, then you know the harder you fight it, the more it sticks. And that’s the case with the Mercury Dime minted from 1916 to 1945. Some people even called it the golf dime or battle axe dime based on its tails side design! But it’s still considered as one of the prettiest US coins, so let’s look into its history, its designer, and the 1935 Dime Value.

1935 Dime Value Chart

Mint Mark Good G 4 Fine

F 12

Extremely Fine

EF 40

About Uncirculated

AU 50

Uncirculated MS 60 Mint State

MS 65

1935 (P) No Mint Mark Dime Value $2.20 $3.31 $3.57 $6.36 $12 $40
1935-S Dime Value $2.20 $3.31 $6.03 $14 $25 $46
1935-D Dime Value $2.20 $3.31 $8.54 $23 $40 $103

1935 Dime Value Guide

Mint marks can raise the value of a coin, so it’s useful to study the individual mint branches. But with the Mercury Dime in particular, you might see an extra grade called FB by PCGS or sometimes FSB by NGC. It means Full Bands or Full Split Bands. FB and FSB coins are clearly separated. You can count the three sets of leather straps tying the sticks in the fasces.

1935 (P) No Mint Mark Dime Value

1935 (P) No Mint Mark Dime

In 1935, the Philadelphia Mint made 58,830,000 Dimes. They had no mint marks. In March 2021, an MS 68 was $1,140 on eBay. The record for an MS 68 FB was much higher, selling for $11,213 in November 2006. In May 2022, a PCGS-graded MS 68 sold for $3,360 and an NGC-graded coin was $1,680 in November 2022. PCGS estimates the 2023 value at $4,000.

1935-S Dime Value

1935-S Dime

The San Francisco Mint pressed 15,840,000 Dimes with the S Mint Mark. In June 2014, an MS 68 sold for 3,819. Interestingly, an MS 68 FB sold more recently in January 2019. The auction price was $90,000. This could be due to its rarity since PCGS has only graded two MS 68 FBs. They’ve also graded a single MS 68+ FB but so far, the owner hasn’t sold it.

1935-D Dime Value

1935-D Dime

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In 1935, the Denver Mint coined 10,477,000 Dimes with the D Mint Mark. In April 2006, a 1935-D Dime graded MS 68 sold for $2,300. But back in August 2000, an MS 67 FB was auctioned for $17,250. In December 2022, an MS 67 was only $1,320 though, and an MS 67+ sold for $4,465 in July 2020. PCGS estimates the current value of an MS 67+ at $5,500.

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1935 Dime Errors

Coins have all sorts of errors, and some are more expensive than others. The most valuable ones occur at the mint, so it helps to understand how they happen. First, an artist develops his or her sketch into an 8” model of epoxy, rubber, and plaster. A mint reducing machine shrinks this into a steel master hub that makes master dies. These later make working hubs.

The working hubs make working dies, then a mint mark is added. Until 1989, the mint marks were added manually. Finally, the working die strikes planchets to make coins. These stages all need at least two strikes, and if the metal moves between strikes, the next impression will land on a slightly different spot causing doubling tripling, off-centers, and other such errors.

1935-S RPM S/S Error

1935 S Dime RPM S/S Error

RPM means re-punched mint mark. It happens if the second or third strike of the mint mark hits a different part of the coin. If you check with a coin microscope or jeweler’s loupe, so you can see the earlier mint mark below. RPMs are written as S/S and read as S over S. An MS 67 sold for $1,320 in October 2019. Two steps down, an MS 65 FB was only $65 on eBay.

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History of the 1935 Dime

The 1935 Dime is a Mercury Dime designed by Adolph Alexander Weinman. And although most people assume it depicts the Roman god Mercury and his famous winged helmet, it’s actually Lady Liberty wearing a Phrygian Cap with wings, so its proper name is the Winged Liberty Head Dime. But let’s take a few steps back and see where this coin’s story began.

Starting in 1885, Mint Director James Kimball, Vermont Senator Justin Morrill, and editor Richard Watson Gilder all wanted the US silver coins to be revamped. At the time, they all had the Seated Liberty designed by Chief Mint Engraver Christian Gobrecht in 1830. These three industry leaders collaborated to draft, push, publicize, and pass the 1890 Coinage Act.

Among other things, it allowed coins to be replaced without Congress intervention if they had been used for 25 years. This new law was an option, not a requirement, but in 1915, Mint Director Robert W. Woolley misinterpreted the law and concluded that Barber Coinage must be replaced. And since the public disliked the coins anyway, it was an easy decision to make.

But Charles Barber, the Chief Mint Engraver that designed these coins, wasn’t entirely to blame for his sensibilities. Both his dad and granddad were engravers, so he followed suit. It was the family business! His father, William Barber, had been Chief Engraver before him. Charles joined the mint in 1869, working as an assistant engraver with his dad as his boss.

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By the time Charles was promoted to Chief Engraver in 1879, he had ten years of training as an assistant. And when he designed the Barber Coinage in 1892, he had ten more years of experience as the boss. This means his attitude towards coins wasn’t merely artistic. He had to consider die longevity, striking frequency, clarity, profitability, and other fiduciary factors.

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Meanwhile, President Theodore Roosevelt, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and the rest of the redesign brigade only wanted coins that were as pretty as those Ancient Greek and Roman ones. They didn’t consider such coins were engraved by hand, so if they had to be machined, they’d need as many as nine strikes to fully show all the details. This wore out dies quicker.

As a result, these coins took longer to make and were more expensive, which was part of Barber’s issue with them. Also, because Barber had an English tradesman’s background and Saint-Gaudens was a classically trained sculptor, their mismatch in taste was irreconcilable. They later clashed when the mint changed the rear design of Saint-Gaudens’ 1892 Medal.

It was meant for the World Columbian Exposition medal, and Saint-Gaudens sculpted a nude male that was considered obscene. But he was furious when they censored it. For reference, Saint-Gaudens typically worked on statues, so the high relief and deep details on his designs often got lost on coins. This same issue came up with his assistants and students.

The Coin Contest of 1915

Barber’s distaste for the Lincoln Penny (Victor David Brenner), the Buffalo Nickel (James Earle Fraser), and the Mercury Dime (Adolph Alexander Weinman) began with Augustus Saint-Gaudens. He once trained Weinman, and the other two were Saint-Gaudens assistants. Barber adjusted all their coins to reduce relief levels and make coining more convenient.

Mint Director Edward Leech once told Gilder, in a letter, “… artistic designs for coins, that would meet the ideas of an art critic like yourself, and artists generally, are not always adapted for practical coining.” But the artists resented Barber’s interference, and his edits weren’t always accepted. One time, he added denticles to Weinman’s Walking Liberty.

But Mint Superintendent Adam M. Joyce disagreed, so he quietly shut it down and removed them, much to Weinman’s relief. Weinman came into the mix when Barber was asked to sketch suggestions for the 1915 dime that would replace his coin. The Commission disliked his designs and invited Albin Polasek, Adolph Weinman, and Hermon MacNeil to have a go.

Weinman’s designs were chosen for the dime, half dollar, and the heads side of the quarter while MacNeil won the tails side. Pressure from the Commission on Fine Arts led to MacNeil designing the heads side of the quarter as well. They felt it was too much responsibility to let one artist do all those designs. But Barber still got the last word due to delays at the mint.

A Matter of Monograms

Due to all the changes he was asked to make, Weinman’s coins weren’t ready in time, and the mint had to produce a final round of Barber Coinage. This was in July 1916, and although the Mercury Dime was accepted and approved on May 29th, 1916, it wasn’t coined until October. By then, millions of 1916 Barber Dimes had been minted and released, ready for circulation.

Mint engravers like Charles Barber and James Longacre before him were used to placing a subtle initial at the portrait cut-off or inside Lady Liberty’s hair. You could barely even see them unless you knew where to look. But external artists worked on commission and needed recognition to help them find new clients, so they placed their initials on more visible areas.

This attracted the attention of both mint officials and the public, and some felt these signatures were too advertorial. It caused a lot of issues over the decades, including the infamous VDB controversy on the Lincoln Penny. But even on contemporary coins like the 50 State Quarters, the designers’ initials are intrusively visible on the tails side of the coin.

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In the case of the Mercury Dime, Weinman placed his distinctive monogram beside the portrait. And just like Victor Brenner before him, people complained. This time, the artist was willing to remove his insignia, and this worked in his favor. Since he didn’t kick up a stink, the mint eventually left him alone and he was allowed to leave his signature as it was.

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How to Identify the 1935 Dime?

Coins are made by striking blank metal discs called planchets. The front or heads side of a coin is called the obverse, and the back or tails side is called the reverse. The thin sides that you flip are called edges, and they sometimes have reeds. If they don’t, the edge is described as plain or smooth. The words that are stamped on a coin are known as legends or mottos.

The images are called devices, and the background of a coin is called the field. In most years, the mint makes proof coins for the archives and sells some to collectors. But from 1918 to 1935, they didn’t make any proofs. You could buy Uncirculated PDS Sets though. These high-quality coins were hand-picked by mint staff and sold before they got dinged in circulation.

Uncirculated Sets had a natural satin finish and were sometimes graded as PL for Proof-Like or DPL for Deep-Proof-Like if their condition was especially impressive. But since they were part of the business strikes intended for everyday use, they didn’t use special proof dies or pre-burnished planchets. You can still find some mixed into coin rolls or in pocket change.

The Obverse of the 1935 Dime

1935 Dime Obverse

The obverse (heads side) of the 1935 Dime features Lady Liberty wearing a Phrygian Cap aka Liberty Cap with wings. The legend Liberty runs along the rim from her chin to her hairline, and the designer’s initials, AW, are on the right, below the Y. In God We Trust is on the left below her chin, and the mint date is on the lower right of the coin, under her neckline cut-off.

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The Reverse of the 1935 Dime

1935 Dime Reverse

The reverse (tails side) of the 1935 Dime has a fasces, which is a bundle of tied sticks and a battle axe. The fasces has an olive branch wrapped around it, with E Pluribus Unum on its lower right side. The rim reads United States of America up top and One Dime down below, with stars and dots separating the words. The mint mark is at the bottom, after the E in One.

Other Features of the 1935 Dime

Lady Liberty was modeled on Elsie Stevens, who posed wearing the top of an old stocking to simulate a Phrygian Cap. The coin was 90% silver and 10% copper. It measured 17.91mm in diameter, weighed 2.5g, and had 118 reeds on its edge. Weinman probably inserted the wings because his mentor, Saint-Gaudens, loved to sculpt feathers and passed down this key skill.

But when he was asked about it, Weinman said the winged cap showed freedom of thought while the fasces on the back represented justice and war. This symbol was later used by the fascists in Italy, but fortunately, it retained its positive status within America. The olive branch on the coin’s back was seen as a sign of peace to juxtapose the strength of the fasces.

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How Much Silver is in a 1935 Dime?

The 1935 Dime weighs 2.5g and is 90% silver, so that’s about 2.25g or 0.07 troy ounces. The spot price of silver is $0.77 per gram so the 1935 Dime has roughly $1.73 worth of fine silver.

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