Whether you just have spare change rattling around in your pocket or a whole jar filled with coins, you might want to take a closer look at some of the dimes. If you find one from 1916, it could be worth at least $1,000 — or up to $200,000.
You’ll need to make sure it’s a very specific coin known as the 1916-D Mercury dime. The name comes from when people in the past mistook the image of a young woman representing Liberty on the head side for the Roman god Mercury. The confusion is understandable because she’s shown wearing a winged cap similar to the one worn by Mercury (also known as Hermes in Greek mythology).
As interesting as that back story is, the real key to spotting one of these dimes is the “D” initial, which appears on the tail side — meaning it was minted in Denver. According to Gainesville Coins, there were only 264,000 of these coins produced from that location in 1916. The US Mint continued making Mercury dimes until 1945, but this particular one is both the rarest and most valuable among them.
The experts at Professional Coin Grading Services (PCGS) claim that the 1916-D Mercury dime is in such high demand that even very low grade finds are worth at least $1,000. Like any valuable coin, higher quality will make them worth even more. The company’s website lists a pristine mint-grade example selling at auction for $207,000 in 2010.
PCGS warns that the coins are also prone to being faked by adding “D” marks on 1916 coins minted in Philadelphia. They recommend getting third party authentication if you think you’ve spotted one in your coin collection to make sure it’s not a counterfeit.
While you’re rummaging through your coins, you should keep an eye out for other coins worth money — like a rare Sacagawea dollar coin, Kansas state quarters with a typo, or a penny from 1969 worth more than $126,500. You never know, there just might be a goldmine hiding in your spare change!