Skip to main content

Dime name will likely continue as

Even though the official title is
  • Author:
  • Publish date:

? Is there any hope of ever getting the Liberty Head dime divorced from the incorrect ?Mercury? title?
Your friendly local bookie would probably offer astronomical odds against success in such an effort. It?s not for lack of trying, but it is typical of many of the deeply rooted misapprehensions in the mind of the public, such as the practice of calling our cents ?pennies.? A comprehensive coin dictionary or encyclopedia would help.

? Is the trime and the thrip the same coin by different names?
Technically, no. The trime was applied to the U.S. 3-cent piece to fit with dime. Thrip was another candidate for the coin, but it was originally applied to the English threepence. Official efforts to use these terms for U.S. coins failed to catch the public fancy.

? Has the U.S. Mint ever issued any pennies?
Although the Mint has struck pennies for other countries, it has never struck one for U.S. issue. Our coins are cents, but even the Mint calls them ?pennies? in some of its literature. Schools across the country have taught lessons on the penny, and numerous questions have come to me to answer. Quite a few teachers were startled to learn that they were teaching the wrong denomination.

? What is the source for the discontinued ?disme? denomination?
The term traces back to the French dixieme. It means one-tenth. The ?s? in ?disme? was dropped to Americanize the dime. Breen traced it as a French term back to 1585 when Simon Stevin created the term to use in decimal reckoning. He refers to it as a ?neologism,? which means a new word or a new meaning for an established word.

? Does the government ever withdraw coins from circulation?
The only coins that are currently taken out of circulation are those that are badly mutilated or damaged to the point that they cannot circulate or be used, for example, in a vending machine. Coins are removed in bulk with no regard to date or mint. In the past, the Treasury Department has removed coins from circulation. The most recent are silver coins struck prior to 1965.

Address questions to Coin Clinic, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. Because of space limitations, we are unable to publish all questions. Include a loose 41-cent stamp for reply. Write first for specific mailing instructions before submitting numismatic material. We cannot accept unsolicited items. E-mail inquiries should be sent to