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1936 Dime Value: How Much Is It Worth and Why?

1936 Dime Value: How Much Is It Worth and Why?

Coin collecting is a fantastic way to preserve historically significant items, learn about a culture, and build appreciable wealth! Many coins that were once only worth a few cents are worth thousands nowadays thanks to increasing scarcity and demand, and the 1936 Mercury dime is no exception.

But what is the 1936 dime value, and how can you select the best one to add to your growing collection? This guide will answer that question (and many more), ensuring you buy and sell 1936 dimes at fair prices and enjoy the highest possible returns on this silver-colored coin.

1936 Dime: History

The 1936 Mercury dime was released during a time of economic turmoil for the United States. In 1929, the Great Depression hit. It didn’t end until 1941.

As such, the silver-rich Mercury dime became a target of hoarding, making it challenging for the U.S. Mint to keep the in-circulation supply of the coin high enough for regular use. A complete absence of dime production in 1932 and 1933 also significantly impacted dime supply numbers, making the 1936 dime that much more valuable.

To counteract this hoarding-related supply issue, the U.S. Mint struck more than 112 million dimes in 1936, more than it had any year previously. Despite this, less than 1% of all dimes struck in 1936 exist today, making them particularly valuable, especially when in uncirculated condition.

1936 Dime: Design

The 1936 dime features the “Mercury Head” (also called the Winged Liberty Head) design, one of the more controversial dime designs ever implemented.

Like the Barber dime that preceded it, this coin had noticeable Roman influences, although the coin’s designer (Adolph Alexander Weinman) would have argued that it was purely American. Still, the coin’s obverse figure, an image of a young Lady Liberty sporting a winged cap, was very similar to the dedication of the ancient Roman god Mercury.

The inclusion of a fasces, a bundle of rods with an axe embedded in it, only made the Roman influences harder to ignore.

In the eyes of the general public, the Mercury dime was considered one of the most aesthetically pleasing dime designs. Still, for its creator, the colloquial nickname it earned was likely a source of constant frustration.

This coin’s design makes it one of the most sought-after types of dimes, though scarcity (and increased demand) has also made it increasingly valuable.

1936 Dime Obverse

The 1936 Mercury dime’s obverse (front) face shows:

  • 1936 (year date) in the bottom right corner
  • “IN GOD WE TRUST” (motto) in the lower left corner
  • An overlaid initial (AW) above the year date, further right
  • “LIBERTY” (legend) arched along the top
  • An image of the Winged Liberty figure in the center, her hat partially obscuring the “E” in “LIBERTY”

1936 Dime Reverse

The 1936 Mercury dime’s reverse (back) face shows:

  • An image of a fasces and olive branch in the center
  • The mint mark (D or S) to the immediate left of the olive branch
  • “E PLURIBUS UNUM” (motto) to the right of the faces
  • “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” arched along the top
  • “ONE DIME” arching upward along the bottom, separated from the issuing nation by two five-point stars (one on each side of the denomination marking)

1936 Dime: Features and Specifications

All non-error 1936 Mercury dimes:

  • Have ridged (reeded) edges
  • Weigh 0.09 ounces (2.5 grams)
  • Are 10% copper and 90% silver
  • Have a diameter of 0.7 inches (17.9 millimeters)

How Much Is a 1936 Dime Worth?

According to the Greysheet’s Collector’s Price Guide (CPG) values, a 1936 No Mint Mark dime in circulated condition (AU-58 and lower) is worth between $2.88 and $6.55. In uncirculated condition (MS-60 or higher), it can be worth $9.45 to $94 or more.

Of course, this value range ($2.88 to $94) only applies to the 1936 No Mint Mark Mercury dime. Other 1936 dimes, including those struck at the Denver Mint and San Francisco Mint facilities, have unique value ranges that go hand-in-hand with their rarity and coin grade (aka coin condition).

It’s also worth noting that some dimes exceed the estimated value range, especially when sold at auction. For example, a 1936 No Mint Mark dime sold on eBay for $7,111 in 2021. That’s roughly 75 times the maximum estimated value for this coin!

But why is there such a significant discrepancy between the estimated values and auction records? Several factors impact the value of a 1936 Mercury dime, the most notable being:

  • Coin grade
  • Mint mark
  • Strike type
  • Full Band design

For an in-depth understanding of how these factors influence 1936 dime values, we’ll compare the values of this coin in the section below.

1936 Dime: Value Comparison

You can organize and value 1936 Mercury dimes via several qualities. For example, you can divide them by strike type (regular or proof), mint mark (where the coin was struck), coin grade (the condition of the coin), and design traits.

Each of these qualities significantly impacts the estimated value of any given 1936 dime, primarily via scarcity.

Because these coins were struck almost a century ago, and most were produced for circulation, it’s challenging to find 1936 Mercury dimes in uncirculated condition. Those rare few that receive a coin grade of MS-60 or higher tend to be worth more than those in about uncirculated, fine, or good condition.

Original mintage volume also impacts value. The U.S. Mint struck millions of regular-strike dimes in 1936, but they only produced about 4,000 proof-strike dimes that year. As a result, the 1936-P Proof dime is generally worth far more than 1936 regular-strike dimes, making them a valuable asset for coin collectors.

It’s also vital to mention the Full Band (also called Full Bands) designation, a design-specific trait that can boost a 1936 Mercury dime’s value.

This designation refers to the number and clarity of the bands on the coin’s reverse side (the horizontal ones found on the bundle of rods). Heavily circulated 1936 dimes often lack this design trait, with the band appearing smooth and challenging to discern due to long-term handling and use.

1936 No Mint Mark Dime Value

All dimes struck at the Philadelphia Mint facility in 1936 (regardless of strike type) lack the letter “P” mint mark, which makes them easy to tell apart from other types of dimes!

The Philadelphia Mint struck over 85 million dimes in 1936, far outpacing every other U.S. Mint facility. Still, only a small fraction (approximately 25,000) of these dimes exist today, making them equally as rare as the slightly more coveted 1936-S dime.

Like other regular-strike dimes from 1936, the No Mint Mark dime comes in two varieties:

  • Non-FB, and
  • Full Band

You can differentiate the two types by examining the middle banding of the fasces on the coin’s reverse side. The coin qualifies as a Full Band dime if this middle banding shows a clean split. Full Band (FB) dimes are more valuable than non-FB ones.

However, non-FB 1936 No Mint Mark dimes are worth more than their contemporary counterparts. That’s because these dimes contain a significant amount of silver, are increasingly rare, and are historically significant.

A No Mint Mark 1936 dime is worth about $2.88 in good condition (G-4) and $5.10 in about uncirculated (AU-50) condition. In uncirculated condition, this coin can sell for between $9.45 (MS-60) and $94 (MS-67).

Overall, this is the least valuable type of 1936 dime.

Full Band

Full Band dimes only retain their split middle binding due to a lack of circulation, so most are in uncirculated condition (MS-60 grade or higher). The value of one of these coins varies between $27 (MS-61) and $2,750 (MS-68).

Of course, auction records prove the FB 1936 No Mint Mark dime can sell for a much higher premium. In 2020, an MS-68+ FB 1936 No Mint Mark Mercury dime sold at auction for $15,275.

Naturally, the better the condition of the coin, the higher the potential price, which is something collectors should keep in mind when evaluating the worth of their 1936 dimes.

1936-D Dime Value

Image Credit: PCGS

The 1936-D is the least common type of dime struck in 1936. Although the Denver Mint produced more than 16 million that year, only about 11,000 exist today.

This makes the 1936-D Mercury dime the rarest regular-strike dime from that year. As you might imagine, this rarity makes it a valuable investment, especially when found in exceptional condition (MS-60 or higher) or with the Full Band design.

Without the Full Band design, a 1936-D dime is worth as little as $3.15 (G-4, good condition) or as much as $358 (MS-67). In about uncirculated condition (AU-50), you can expect this coin to enjoy a value of about $12.15.

But as with 1936 No Mint Mark dimes, those with the Full Band design are more valuable.

Full Band

If you’re fortunate to own a Full Band 1936-D Mercury dime, you can expect to sell that coin for between $43.20 (MS-61) and $6,880 (MS-68)!

Of course, this is only an estimate. Actual sales estimates can be much higher, as proven by the MS-68 1936-D FB dime that sold for $14,950 in 2003.

Only about 3,000 FB 1936-D dimes are thought to exist, making them the rarest type of dime from that year (even rarer than proof-strike 1936 dimes). But, somewhat counterintuitively, uncirculated condition Full Band 1936-D dimes aren’t quite as valuable as their more numerous FB 1936-S counterparts.

This difference in value likely stems from the fact that several 1936-D dimes were removed from circulation soon after release, leading to a higher overall population of uncirculated pieces (as compared to more widely circulated and heavily used 1936-S dimes).

1936-S Dime Value

Although the San Francisco Mint struck the lowest volume of dimes in 1936 (as compared to other U.S. Mint facilities), 1936-S dimes are slightly more common than 1936-D ones. It’s thought that about 25,000 of these coins are still around today!

Because the 1936-S Mercury dime is slightly more common than the 1936-D dime, it’s generally less valuable. That said, as with other 1936 dime varieties, the Full Band version tends to be pricier than the non-FB dime.

Still, a non-FB 1936-S dime is more valuable than a newly minted dime. In good condition (G-4), this coin has an approximate value of $3.15. In about uncirculated condition (AU-50), it’s worth about $9.45. 1936-S dimes in uncirculated condition are worth between $27 (MS-60) and $3,250 (MS-68).

But it’s important to note that collectors hoping to collect the highest possible revenue from an MS-68 1936-S Non-FB dime might need to wait for the right buyer. After all, the most paid at auction for this coin is $1,920, a record set in 2022.

So, while the potential for a significant auction sale exists for this dime, it could take time to find a buyer willing to pay such a premium.

Full Band

A 1936-S Mercury dime with the Full Band design is worth more than the non-FB variety, and nearly all FB 1936-S dimes are in uncirculated condition (MS-60 grade or higher). As such, this coin is worth between about $29.70 (MS-61) and $19,200 (MS-68).

Notably, the potential earnings from selling this coin exceed the estimated top value (unlike the non-FB variety). An MS-68 Full Band 1936-S dime sold for $23,000 when it went to auction in 2006!

1936-P Proof Dime Value

While three U.S. Mint facilities pumped out millions of regular-strick dimes in 1936, only one produced proof-strike versions; the Philadelphia Mint. Additionally, the U.S. Mint minted a significantly lower number of these for-collection coins, only 4,130.

Typically, proof-strike coins are grouped into three categories:

  • Proof
  • Cameo
  • Deep Cameo

The 1936 Mercury dime defies this trend, as there are thought to be no cameo or deep cameo proof-strike coins in existence. Still, because so few of these coins are around today, they’re generally the highest-value option for collectors.

The value of a 1936-P proof-strike dime starts at about $572 (PR-60) and rises to an astounding $31,200 (PR-68). No other 1936 dime has a higher estimated worth than the PR-68 1936-P proof-strike dime!

1936 Dime: Rare Errors

Are you looking to improve your coin collection? If so, you’ll want to explore more than standard regular-strike and proof-strike coins.

After all, rare error coins can be just as valuable (if not more so) than hard-to-find non-error ones. Some error-ridden 1936 Mercury dimes are worth hundreds of dollars, especially when found in great condition.

But what types of errors should you look for when seeking out a high-value 1936 error dime?

Some of the most notable (and profitable) errors include the following:

  • 1936-S DDO error
  • 1936-S Possible Overdate error
  • Off-center strike error

Let’s discuss the characteristics of each of these error dimes to discover how you can identify them and how much they could be worth.

1936-S DDO Error

Typically, U.S. Mint facilities with comparatively high outputs are responsible for producing more error coins each year. But that’s not true for 1936 dimes.

Instead, the U.S. Mint facility that produced the lowest volume of regular strike dimes (the San Francisco Mint) seems to have created the highest number of error dimes in 1936! This trend is most easily recognized by examining two types of 1936 error dimes; the 1936-S Doubled Die Obverse (DDO) error coin and the 1936-S Possible Overdate error coin.

The first of these (the 1936-S DDO dime) is recognizable via the double of specific design elements, including the “S” mint mark, the motto “IN GOD WE TRUST,” and the year date. This doubling occurs when the obverse coin die is imperfectly engraved, leading to a doubling of the engraved designs inside it.

A 1936-S DDO error coin is worth between $17 (VF-20) and $175 (MS-65).

1936-S Possible Overdate Error

An overdate error coin has been struck with a die altered to show a different date. For example, if a U.S. Mint employee took a 1935 Mercury dime coin die and scratched the “5” into the shape of a “6” to reuse you for the next year, the resulting coins pressed with that die would likely show an overdate error.

This type of error can be challenging to pick out, especially without professional assistance. Many so-called overdate error 1936-S dimes are controversial, as there isn’t unanimous agreement about whether the overdate shown (a “3” etched from a “2”) is even possible.

Still, this type of error coin is worth between $6 (AU-50) and $35 (MS-65), making it more valuable than 1936 No Mint Mark dimes (without Full Bands).

1936 Off-Center Strike Error

All modern-era coins are pressed between two coin dies during the striking process, and these dies give coins their unique designs. But when coin blanks (planchets) aren’t aligned precisely between the dies, the resulting impression can be off-center, leading to off-center strike errors.

You can identify 1936 Mercury dimes with the off-center strike error by examining their designs. Is part of the coin blank and smooth? Is part of the design missing?

If so, you might have an off-center strike dime in your possession!

These error dimes are worth more when the designs are significantly off-center. But low-percentage off-center strikes can result in high-value error dimes.

A great example is an MS-61 20% off-center strike 1936 Mercury dime that sold for $345 in 2005. Although the off-strike percentage wasn’t high (50% or more), this coin’s overall rarity and uncirculated condition make it a valuable piece.

Frequently Asked Questions

The 1936 Mercury dime is available in several iterations and grade levels, and you can also find rare error versions of this coin. But there’s far more to learn about the 1936 dime! Browse the frequently asked questions below to discover more about this ten-cent piece.

How Many 1936 Mercury Dimes Exist?

According to PCGS coin survival estimates, about 61,000 regular-strike 1936 dimes exist. That’s roughly 0.05% of all the for-circulation dimes originally struck by the U.S. Mint in 1936!

Still, proof-strike 1936 dimes are far scarcer. The U.S. Mint only struck 4,130 proof dimes in 1936; only about 3,400 exist today. While that’s a much higher survival percentage (about 82%), regular-strike 1936 Mercury dimes vastly outnumber proof-strike dimes.

What’s the Rarest 1936 Mercury Dime?

The proof-strike 1936-P dime is the rarest non-error dime. But the rarest regular-strike 1936 Mercury dime is the elusive 1936-D FB dime. It’s believed that only about 3,000 of these coins exist today (across all grades).

What’s the Auction Record for the 1936 Mercury Dime?

The auction record for the 1936 Mercury dime was set in 2015 when a PR-68 1936-P Proof dime sold at auction for $29,375. This dime is considered the finest and most flawless proof-strike 1936 Mercury dime, and it could sell for an even higher price in the future due to its rarity and exceptional quality.

1936 Dime Value: Final Thoughts

The 1936 dime value generally varies between $2.88 and $31,200. The value of this dime fluctuates depending on the mint mark, strike type, coin grade, and Full Band designation.

Because the 1936 Mercury dime is comparatively rare, investing in one sooner rather than later might be wise. After all, less than 1% of dimes minted in 1936 are still around today.