Half Dimes

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Half dimes occupy a pivotal place in U.S. coinage history, representing the nation's earliest attempts at minting its own currency. These small silver coins have evolved through several distinct design phases, each reflecting the cultural and artistic trends of its era. From the late 18th century to the late 19th century, half dimes were an integral part of America’s monetary system, evolving through designs such as Flowing Hair, Draped Bust, Capped Bust, Seated Liberty, and Liberty Head.

Flowing Hair Half Dime (1794-1795) The Flowing Hair half dimes were among the first coins officially minted by the United States. Designed by Robert Scot, they feature Lady Liberty with flowing hair on the obverse and an eagle on the reverse. These coins are highly prized for their historical significance as symbols of the young nation's burgeoning independence.

Draped Bust Half Dime (1796-1805) Succeeding the Flowing Hair, the Draped Bust design, also by Robert Scot, portrays a more mature image of Lady Liberty with a draped gown. This design comes in two variants: the Small Eagle (1796-1797) and the Heraldic Eagle reverse (1800-1805), reflecting a transition in the national emblem's depiction.

Capped Bust Half Dime (1829-1837) After a temporary cessation of half dime production, the Capped Bust half dimes emerged, designed by William Kneass. These coins show Liberty with a cap on her head, symbolizing freedom. The Capped Bust series highlights improved artistic techniques and minting technologies of the time.

Seated Liberty Half Dime (1837-1873) The Seated Liberty half dimes, designed by Christian Gobrecht, depict Liberty seated on a rock, holding a staff with a liberty cap and shield. This design underwent minor modifications over its long mintage period, including the addition of stars, arrows, and wreaths, reflecting changes in the political and economic landscape.

Liberty Head Half Dime (1883-1913) Though technically transitioning into the nickel category, the Liberty Head "V Nickel" continues the lineage of the half dime in spirit. Designed by Charles E. Barber, this coin features Lady Liberty's head facing left with a coronet and a large "V" on the reverse, representing the Roman numeral for five.

Collectibility and Legacy Half dimes are a collector's delight due to their rich historical context, varied designs, and the stories they tell of a developing nation. Each series offers a glimpse into the artistic and cultural values of its time, making these coins not only valuable monetary items but also important cultural artifacts. Whether as part of a focused collection of early American coinage or a broader assembly of historical U.S. coins, half dimes offer a fascinating insight into the numismatic and national history.

Collectors of half dimes appreciate the journey these coins represent in the minting history and evolution of American currency, from the early days of the republic through to the turn of the 20th century. Each design iteration of the half dime adds a unique chapter to the collector's portfolio, encapsulating the craftsmanship, artistry, and vision of the United States Mint throughout the years.

Half Dime Coins FAQs

1792 (half disme) - 1873. The half disme was one of the first coins to be produced by the newly created US Mint. At least 1,500 half dismes struck in 1792, which would technically make them the first business strike coin to be minted by the Mint. However, its status as such is disputed, with the Mint recognizing the 1793 Chain cent as such. Most Americans, not sure how to pronounce the French word "disme", referred to the coin as "dime". By the time production of half dismes resumed in 1794, the "s" had been dropped. (source: wikipedia)
There Are 5 Designs.

Half Disme, Flowing Hair, Draped Bust, Capped Bust and Liberty Seated.

Half disma (1792): The half disme was one of the first coins minted by the United States federal government. It's essentially a precursor to the half dime.

Flowing Hair Half Dime (1794-1795): This was the first design of the half dime and featured Liberty with flowing hair on the obverse and a small eagle on the reverse.

Draped Bust Half Dime (1796-1805): This design showcased a draped bust of Liberty on the obverse. There were two main reverse designs during this period: the small eagle (1796-1797) and the heraldic eagle (1800-1805).

Capped Bust Half Dime (1829-1837): This design had Liberty wearing a cap on the obverse and a more modern eagle on the reverse.

Seated Liberty Half Dime (1837-1873): This design underwent several variations during its mintage:

- No Stars (1837-1838): Liberty seated without any stars surrounding her on the obverse.

- Stars on Obverse (1838-1859): Stars were added around Liberty on the obverse.

- Arrows at Date (1853-1855): Arrows were added to the obverse on either side of the date to signify a weight change.

- Legend on Obverse (1860-1873): The design was modified to move the stars from the obverse and replace them with the legend "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA."

Half Disme also known as the Bust Half Dime.
The obverse depicted Liberty facing left (in a style quite similar to Liberty facing right on a variety of the Birch cent) with the date 1792 below and an abbreviated form of the motto "Liberty Parent of Science & Industry" (which is found in a fuller form on the 1792 cents and disme).
1.35 grams composed of 90% Silver with a balance of copper. There were small changes over the years.