1916-S MERCURY 10C, MERCURY MS67 Full Bands
GEM SURFACES WITH LOVELY SATIN LUSTER. TIED FOR HIGHEST GRADED.
NGC Graded Higher:
Charles Barber’s homely and boringly designed dime welcomed in the new century as a circulated coin despite attempts to pass a redesign before the turn of the twentieth century. The Barber dime was said to reflect the modest, simple style of the previous century but did not fit into the new century whatsoever. Due to a law passed in 1890 that required a minimum of twenty-five years of coin circulation before the design could be altered, the coin remained in the pockets of Americans for another sixteen years. The design finally had its due in 1915 at which point, stumped on a redesign, Director Robert W. Wooley pitted three world renowned sculptors head to head. While structured like a competition, the initial plan was to award each sculptor a coin based on what design suited which coin best, since the dime, the quarter, and the half dollar all needed a redesign. However, it seems that Adolph A. Weinman swept the judges off their feet as he was given two of the three coins; the quarter was awarded to Hermon A. McNeil while the third competitor was dismissed. At this point Weinman had already earned the title as the youngest world renowned sculptor due in part to his early apprenticeship under the infamous Augustus Saint-Gaudens. The design Weinman submitted in the competition and that won Wooley’s vote, would also become an instant favorite among consumers and collectors alike. Now called the Mercury Coin, this design was often described as esthetically pleasing, does not don Mercury at all rather a likeness of Lady Liberty in a winged cap. The reverse features the Roman fasces, or twig wrapped battle axe, entwined with olive branches and the United States legend and date around it. It is quite possible this design not only won Americans over with beauty but also spoke to current important themes conveyed in its symbolism. The winged cap represented the freedom of thought in American in the 1800s while the fasces and olive branch depict the readiness to fight but the ultimate desire for peace that ran deep within the nation’s ideals. Due to its intricate designs and detail, the die production took longer than expected so the coin was released later than intended in 1916. As a result, few specimens were produced this first year from each striking mint: Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Denver.
By 1916 Europe was now two years deep into the Great War while the United States remained steadfast in its isolationist ways. Despite the stubbornness, many citizens knew the war would inevitably make its way home which certainly wasn’t the most accepted idea. Several had accepted this fight while others adamantly spoke out against war and its consequences to the U.S. which caused tension across the nation and within cities. San Francisco, home to this 1916 dime, was one of those cities that had increased divisions that the city attempted to quell with a Preparedness Parade. Scheduled for July 22nd, the Chamber of Commerce planned out the parade routes as one of the longest in history and hoped it would ease the public into the idea of war. Unfortunately, many San Franciscans leaned toward the isolationist view which then bred radical people who would do nothing to prove their beliefs. This specific parade not only bothered the extreme thinkers but also those who feared the new spread of Bolshevism, later communism, in Europe and what it would mean to the job market. Regardless of the opposition, the parade went on and was a success for the first hour in a half until it was abruptly interrupted by an explosion at 2:06 pm. General witnesses placed the explosion based on sound just south of Market Street, which was half way through the parade route. The bomb turned out to be a homemade suitcase bomb which killed ten people and injured another forty. Of the victims, was a young girl whose life could have very easily ended after all of her extremities were blown off. This tragic event is still known as the largest terrorist attack in San Francisco today with no answer as to who did it.