United States of America, 10 Cent 1924

In 1916 a whole new series of coins was put into circulation in the United States. One of them was a coin of 10 cent that became known under the name of "Mercury dime." In spite of this name, however, it does not show Mercury, the Roman god of trade and happiness. In fact the coin bears Liberty, the personification of freedom; instead of her usual hairdo, Liberty wears the winged helmet that is the trademark of Mercury. The reverse of the coin shows a fasces, a bundle that was carried ahead of high Roman republican executives as sign of their authority. Fasces were made of several rods tied around an axe. They had a twofold symbolism: every single rod was easy to break, but together they were strong – more so if they were grouped around a central office bearer, which was represented by the axe. On the other hand, the rods and the axe stood for the very concrete exertion of power, since rods were used for punishment and axes for executions.