Thursday, February 09, 2006


Liberty Head Dime, obverse
Liberty Head Dime obverse.

Does this lady look familiar?

My younger Esteemed Readers may not remember having seen her face, but old goats like Yours Truly used to see her every day.

It’s Lady Liberty, whose face, in one guise of another, used to adorn many of the circulating coins of the United States. This particular example is the Liberty Head Dime, popularly known as the “Mercury Head” dime, minted from 1916 until 1945, when it was replaced by the Roosevelt dime we know so well.

This dime was part of everyday pocket change up until 1965, when silver coins vanished from circulation almost overnight in this country.

Mercury? Notice the little wings on Liberty’s helmet. People saw those and thought, “Aha! That’s Mercury!” But no.

The wings symbolize Freedom of Thought.

It’s something we value, we who live in Western Democracies. And if we don’t value it and guard it, there are those who would be very happy to take it away from us.

Maybe we ought to bring this coin back. I’m mickle tired of looking at dead presidents on both our paper and our metal money. Symbolic representations of our cherished Democratic Ideals - why not, say I?

Of course, take a peek ’round the back, and whadda ya see? Fasces!

Liberty Head Dime, reverse
Liberty Head Dime reverse.

There’s no such thing as a symbol without baggage, I guess. Hell, if they started minting these babies again, the frickin’ pagans might get up in arms about us disrespecting one of their deities.

[Coin images courtesy Superior Galleries.]

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