If you are a coin collector or a history buff, you might be interested in learning more about the 1944 dime. This coin is not only rare and valuable, but also has a fascinating story behind it.
This dime from ’44 was part of the Mercury dimes, or Winged Liberty Heads as some folks liked to call them. They had a gal with a winged cap on her noggin on one side and a stick with some greenery on the other.
They started making them in ’16 and kept at it till ’45, when the design was replaced by the Roosevelt dime to celebrate the life and legacy of the late president who led the nation through the Great Depression and World War II.
In this article, we will explore the history and significance of the 1944 dime, and how much you should expect to pay for one.
The History of the 1944 Dime
This coin, which bears the likeness of a lady with a winged cap on her head, is commonly called the Mercury dime, after the Roman god of commerce and thieves.
However, this name is a misnomer, as the cap is meant to represent freedom of thought, according to its designer, Mr. Adolph A. Weinman, a distinguished sculptor who also created the Walking Liberty half dollar.
The Mercury dime was minted during the dark times of the Second World War, when silver was scarce and precious. To save this metal for military purposes, some patriotic citizens donated their silverware to be melted and turned into coin blanks, or planchets. These planchets were then stamped with the date 1944 and sent into circulation.
But some of them had a secret: they were made from dies that had been used for 1942 dimes and had not been properly erased. If you look closely at these coins, you can see a faint trace of a 2 under the 4 in the date. These are called overdate coins and are very rare and valuable. If you happen to find one in your pocket or purse, you may consider yourself very fortunate indeed.
The coin went out of circulation in 1945, replaced by the Roosevelt dime, released to celebrate President Roosevelt for his leadership throughout World War II.
Evaluating a 1944 Dime
The first evaluation you need to do when evaluating any coin is determining whether it’s authentic.
To do so, you’ll check three things:
- You will need a scale and caliper for this step. Check the coin’s weight and diameter against the official specifications. If the 1944 dime in your hand is lighter/heavier than 2,5 grams, or its diameter is longer/shorter than 17.90 millimeters, then it’s fake.
- Measure the coin’s conductivity and magnetic properties. 1944 dimes are made of two nonferrous metals. Thus magnets shouldn’t attract them. For the former, you’ll need a simple circuit; 1944 dimes are made with 90% silver and 10% copper, so they can complete a circuit and activate a bell or a bulb. Conversely, an iron or zinc coin can’t. For the latter, you’ll need a magnet; if the magnet attracts the currency, it’s made of iron or steel — which means you are not buying a genuine dime.
- Look for any signs of casting, spark erosion, electrotyping, or tooling on the coin. Counterfeiters use these techniques to create fake coins, and they may leave traces such as bubbles, pits, seams, scratches, or tool marks on the cash.
Once you’ve established that the coin is authentic, it’s time to evaluate it.
Factors that Affect a 1944 Dime’s Value
Grab your magnifying glass; here’s what you need to look at when evaluating a 1944 dime — or any other coin:
- Condition: How much a coin is worth depends on how beat up it is. If it’s all scratched and dull, it’s not worth much. But if it still looks new and shiny, like it just came out of the mint, it’s worth a lot more. It’s worth more because it resembles how it looked when they made it. People who collect coins have this whole system to rate them, from Good to Uncirculated, based on how much you can still see the picture and how much it glows. An uncirculated coin was never passed around and used in everyday life.
- Mint mark: The little letter on the back of the coin tells you where mints made it. The letter makes a difference in how rare and valuable the coin is because some places made more or better coins than others. For instance, a 1944-S dime is worth more than a 1944-P dime because they didn’t make as many of them, and more people want them. Three places made 1944 dimes: Philadelphia (no letter), Denver (D), and San Francisco (S).
- The bands are the horizontal lines that go around the sticks with the axe on the back of the coin. The lines show how well the mints stamped the coin because sometimes they came out weak or fuzzy on some coins. A fully split band (FSB) dime has sharp, precise lines without smudging or fading. FSB dimes are a big deal for collectors because they mean the coin is in top shape and condition.
- The coin’s aesthetics: The 1944 dime is silver-colored because it’s mostly silver with some copper. But sometimes, the coin gets this funny color from being in the air, water, or other elements. It can be yellowish or brownish, or even blackish, depending on what it was exposed to and for how long. Some collectors like coins with funny colors because they think they have more personality and charm, but others like coins without funny colors because they keep their original sparkle and beauty.
Here’s a video showcasing how you can evaluate a 1944 dime, as well as a few samples that are worth lots of money:
Now that you know how to evaluate a 1944 dime, let’s get to their market value.
The Market Value of 1944 Dimes
When looking at market values for different coins, one must always keep in mind that there are big differences among the locations where you can buy one.
For example, eBay is great for finding rare and unusual coins that you might not see in a local shop or auction, but you have to be careful about the seller’s reputation and the coin’s authenticity.
On the other hand, a local coin retailer will guarantee authenticity and an instant purchase, but it will cost significantly more.
And, if you’re after a particularly rare piece, you will have to visit a big auction house. Places like Heritage Auctions and Stack’s Bowers are where the action is.
To help you in your research, we made a list of market values, divided by categories.
1944 Dime – Poor to Fine (Grades 0 to 15)
Coins with a grade from 0 to 15 are like the old and worn-out books that Atticus Finch used to read to his children. They have seen better days, but they still hold some value and charm for those who appreciate them. They may have scratches, dents, corrosion, or stains that mar their beauty, but they also have stories to tell of the times and places they have been.
Editor’s note: There is only one known sales of a coin belonging to this category. It’s this NG0 coin that sold for $8 in 2014.
1944 Dime – Very Fine to About Uncirculated (Grades 20 to 58)
These coins have seen the hard times and the good times, the dust and the rain, the hands of the rich and the poor. They have been worn and scratched, but they still bear the marks of their history and value. Some have more luster than others, some have more details than others, but they all have a story to tell. They are not the finest specimens, but they are not the worst either.
Prices in this category start at $6:
- This XF40 coin sold for $6
- This AU58 coin sold for $8
- This AU58-D coin sold for $23
- This AU50 coin sold for $45
- This AU55-S coin sold for $54
Editor’s note: No D/D coins have been sold in this category.
1944 Dime – Uncirculated to Select Uncirculated (Grades 60 to 63)
These coins have seen some wear and tear, but they still retain most of their original luster and detail. They have a few marks and scratches, but nothing too deep or distracting. They are not perfect, but they have a certain charm and character that speak of their history and journey.
Prices in this category start at $11:
- This MS61 coin sold for $11
- This MS63-D coin sold for $13
- This MS63-S coin sold for $15
- This MS60 coin sold for $24
- This MS63 coin sold for $92
1944 Dime – Choice & Gem Uncirculated (64 to 66)
These coins are choice and gem uncirculated, meaning they have never been circulated or used in commerce. They are pristine and flawless, with no signs of wear or damage. They have a brilliant shine and a sharp strike, showing every detail and feature of their design. They are the kind of coins that a collector would admire for their quality and rarity, but also for their potential and promise.
Prices in this category start at $10:
- This MS64 coin sold for $10
- This MS64-D FB coin sold for $14
- This MS66-S coin sold for $14
- This MS65-D/D coin sold for $53
There is no shortage of coins in this category that go for hundreds of dollars:
- This MS66-D coin sold for $195
- This MS66+-S coin sold for $297
- This MS66-D/D coin sold for $255
- This MS66FB coin sold for $384
- This MS66CAC coin sold for $881
- This MS66CAC coin sold for $940
Editor’s note: CAC stands for Certified Acceptance Corporation, which is a third party service that verifies coins graded by PCGS and NGC.
1944 Dime – Superb & Perfect Uncirculated (Grades 67 to 70)
These coins are also known as superb and perfect uncirculated, meaning they have no visible flaws or defects. They are the finest examples of their kind, with a full luster and a crisp strike, showing every detail and nuance of their design.
Prices in this category start at $17:
- This MS67 coin sold for $17
- This MS67-D coin sold for $18
- This MS67-S coin sold for $27
- This MS67-S coin sold for $54
- This MS67-D coin sold for $92
The next big price point sits at a few hundred dollars:
- This MS67-D coin sold for $127
- This MS67-D/D coin sold for $235
- ThiS M67-D/D coin sold for $353
- This MS67FB coin sold for $552
- This MS68-S coin sold for $633
- This MS67+FB coin sold for $930
A bunch of coins in this category sold for thousands of dollars:
- This MS68CAC-D coin sold for $1,495
- This MS67+CAC coin sold for $2,233
- This MS67+ coin sold for $3,819
- This MS68+FB-S coin sold for $4,700
- This MS68-S coin sold for $8,625
- This MS67+ coin sold for $9,400
A few select coins breached the ten thousand dollars price mark:
The record auction for this coin is held by this MS68 coin that sold for $25,300.
F.A.Qs about the 1944 Dime
How can I tell which mint produced my 1944 dime?
Look at your coin’s mint mark on the reverse side. If there’s no mint mark, your coin comes from Philadelphia; if it has an S mint mark, it comes from San Francisco; if it has a D mint mark, it comes from Denver.
What is the difference between a regular and a FSB Mercury dime?
The difference between a regular and a FSB Mercury dime is that a FSB Mercury dime exhibits crisp, complete horizontal lines in the bands surrounding the fasces on the reverse. Fasces are a bundle of rods with an axe blade that symbolize authority and power. FSB stands for fully split band and it is a sign of a well-struck coin with high detail and quality.
How common are 1944 dimes in circulation?
1944 dimes are very common in circulation as more than 300 million were minted that year. They are widely collected by coin enthusiasts but they are not rare or scarce. Most of them are heavily worn and have lost much of their original detail
1944 dimes are a great way to enjoy the beauty and history of the Mercury dime series without breaking the bank. These coins are widely available and affordable in most grades, and they offer a variety of mintmarks and types to suit any collector’s taste. Whether a beginner or an expert, you can find 1944 dimes that enhance your collection and bring you joy.
However, you should also be careful when buying 1944 dimes online, as some unscrupulous sellers may try to deceive you with fake or altered coins. Always check the seller’s reputation, feedback, and return policy before purchasing. Use a reputable third-party service to authenticate and grade your coins if possible.
As you explore the world of 1944 dimes, remember to have fun and appreciate the legacy of these silver treasures. Happy hunting!