Some of the most beautiful and popular American coins were minted in 1916. In fact three of our most beautiful coins were first struck in that year. These new designs were featured on the dime, quarter, and half dollar. In fact none of these three coins shared the same design like the Barber series of coins. Dimes and quarters were made in two distinct types.
The Lincoln cent was struck at Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco. None of the three are of a particular rarity. However the matte proof is a challenge to find in a suitable condition. Most of the matte proofs seemed to have been spent by collectors who opted instead for the brilliant proofs.
Buffalo nickels were struck at all three mints, with a small number of matte proofs issued. The three regular issue nickels are rather common. Only 600 proof Buffalo nickels were minted, which makes this one of the lowest mintages of matte proofs. There is a famous variety of the Buffalo nickel. this is the 1916 nickel with a doubled-die obverse. The doubling is rather obvious, especially on the :6: date.
1916 was the final year of the Barber dime, which was replaced by the Mercury dime. The older Barber dime was struck at the Philadelphia and San Francisco mints and is rather common. The new Mercury dime was designed by Adolph Weinman. The obverse can be better called a “Winged Liberty Head” dime, as the reverse does not show the Roman god Mercury otherwise known as the messenger of the gods. Instead the dime features a Liberty head wearing a winged cap.
The reverse shows a bundle of fasces and an olive branch. The new Mercury dime was struck at all three mints, with the Denver coin becoming the key date in the Mercury series. Only 260,000 of the Denver coins were minted. Needless to say this has been a very popular coin with collectors and is indeed a scarce coin. Many counterfeits thus exist to take advantage of this scarcity.
Barber quarters were minted in good numbers at the Philadelphia and Denver mints. The same can’t be said for the Standing Liberty quarter which was struck at the Philadelphia mint later in the year, only 52,000 were minted for that year.. The obverse features a bare breasted Liberty holding an olive branch in her right hand and a shield on her left arm. The reverse shows an eagle in flight.
The Walking Liberty half dollar was first struck in 1916 at all three mints. It was also designed by Adolph Weinman. this half dollar is considered to be the most beautiful U.S. silver coin ever issued. This classic design was resurrected for use on the one-ounce American Eagle silver bullion coins issued in 1986.
The obverse depicts Miss Liberty, draped in an American flag and walking. Her right arm is outstretched and her left arm holds branches of laurel and oak. A rising sun is seen in the back ground. The reverse shows an eagle perched on a mountain, with a sprig of pine.