Coin Connections

Remember this posting where I talked about finding a Mercury dime in my pocket change? Well, yesterday while visiting some church members in their home, I obtained some fascinating information about that coin that I didn’t previously know.

These folks are coin collectors, see. Part of the conversation turned in that direction, and the woman picked up the April 2008 issue of Coin Values magazine to show me a picture of the $50 coin whose gold comes from mines in South Carolina. Cool. As I absently flipped through the magazine, my eye caught a sidebar type mini article about myths regarding the so-called Mercury dime.

At this point, it would have been rude to just surreptitiously read the article while pretending to be listening to the couple talk. So I drew their attention to it and read it to them. Here’s what I learned:

The head on the obverse is not Mercury. (Okay, all serious collectors know that already, but I didn’t.) The name of the coin, in fact, is the Winged Liberty Head Dime. It has nothing to do with the character from Greek mythology. The designer of the coin, Adolph A. Weinman, was referenced, and it was his intent that the wings depict liberty of thought. But the exciting part was that Weinman’s model for Libery’s head on the coin seems to have been Elsie Kachel Stevens, the wife of poet Wallace Stevens! Stevens, one of my favorite poets, wrote “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird,” and many other perfectly balanced lines of verse.

So now I’m liking the coin even more.

For a more detailed and interesting account, see this online article.

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Published in: on May 14, 2008 at 9:19 am  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Now that is super cool stuff! Now I am going to have to go back through my old coins and look at them again!
    I am also not familiar with Wallace Stevens. I guess a trip to the library is also in order!

  2. What exciting connections! Thanks for sharing the link for the online article. It WAS interesting. After reading the article, it seems obvious that the coin wasn’t depicting the mythological Mercury. Weren’t the wings on his feet?

    The article discussing the Buffalo Nickel was extremely interesting as well. That’s a great resource!

  3. Mmmm….I love good ole’ Wallace… =)


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