1942 would have been a relatively uneventful year for the Mercury dime if not for a die variation that caused quite a stir in the numismatic community – the 1942/1 overdate variety. This rare variety, created when two obverse dies were made by the impression of first a 1941 Mercury dime hub then one from 1942, is the most popular for the series and indeed quite rare. Making matters even more interesting – and costly for Mercury dime enthusiasts – is that this variety was created at two mint locations: Philadelphia and Denver.
Outside of the overdates, the only other standout occurrence for 1942 Mercury dimes is the fact that it was the last date in the series for which proof specimens would be struck. World War II would cause the U.S. Mint to focus on producing regular-strike coinage and, later, medals for soldiers returning home from their duties overseas.
Below are mintage figures and values for 1942 Mercury dimes:
1942, 205,410,000 minted; $4
1942/1, mintage unknown; $1,200
1942 proof, 22,329; $400
1942-D, 60,740,000; $4
1942/1-D, mintage unknown; $1,200
1942-S, 49,300,000; $4
*Values are for coins in a grade of Extremely Fine-40, unless otherwise noted.
As Mercury dime aficionados will note, MS-65 specimens of the 1942/1 dime from Philadelphia are much scarcer than overdate Mercury dimes in a similar grade from Denver, with prices of around $15,000 for the former and $8,000 for the latter. Gem specimens of the regular-issue 1942 Mercury dimes are much more affordable, at about $30 each.