There have been a number of obverse designs during the history of the denomination.
The first design (1796 - 1807) showed the Draped Bust of Miss Liberty within a toothed border. Liberty has flowing hair and is facing right. Around above, the inscription LIBERTY. Around the rim, fifteen stars (eight to the left and seven to the right) representing the 15 states which were then members of the Union. Some time during 1797 this was changed to show 13 stars instead. Below the portrait, the date of issue: [year].
The second design (1809 - 1837) had the Capped Bust of Miss Liberty within a beaded border. She faces left; her hair is covered by a cloth cap secured by a band inscribed LIBERTY, with tresses flowing down to her shoulder. Her neckline is draped with a gown, secured with a brooch at the shoulder. Around the rim, thirteen stars (seven to the left and six to the right) representing the original 13 states. Below the portrait, the date of issue: [year].
The third design (1837 - 1891) showed a Seated Liberty - clad in a flowing dress and seated upon a rock. In her left hand, she holds a Liberty pole surmounted by a Phrygian cap (a type of cap which in Ancient Rome was worn by freed slaves). With her right hand, she supports the Union Shield, which has thirteen vertical stripes, white and red, with a blue horizontal bar on top. The colours are represented by heraldic hatching (thin lines indicating the colour - horizontal stripes for blue, vertical for red, no stripes for white). Across the shield, a diagonal banner inscribed with the word LIBERTY.
During 1840, the design was slightly modified with additional drapery of Liberty's dress, flowing down from her left elbow. Between 1838 and 1859, there were thirteen stars around above representing the 13 original states. In 1860 and later, the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA instead.
In the exergue below the figure, the date of issue: [year]. Between 1853 and 1855 and in 1873-1874, arrows on both sides of the date indicate a reduction and later increase in the weight of the denomination.
The Barber Dime (1892 - 1916) shows a portrait of Miss Liberty facing right, her hair in a Phrygian cap and wearing a laurel wreath, with the word LIBERTY in tiny letters in a band above her forehead. The designer's initial B (for [Charles] Barber) is incuse on the next truncation. Around above, the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA; below the portrait, the date: [year].
The Mercury Dime (1916 - 1945) shows a portrait of Miss Liberty facing left, the tight curls of her hair caught in a Phrygian cap (pileus) which is winged. The coin is known as the Mercury Dime because of the resemblance of this portrait with depictions of Mercury, the Roman god of commerce and communications. Around above in large letters, the word LIBERTY is partly obscured by the top of the cap.
On two lines below left, the national motto IN · GOD WE · TRUST. The designer's monogram AW (for Adolph Weinman) is in the field below right, between the Y of LIBERTY and last digit of the date. Below right, under the neck truncation of the portrait, the date: [year].
The sixth and current design of the dime features a portrait of Franklin Roosevelt since 1946. Initially in silver and since 1965 in copper-nickel, it shows the 32nd president of the Unite States facing left. The designer's initials JS (for John Sinnock) are below the neck truncation of the portrait. To the right of that and much larger, the date of issue: [year]. Around left in large letters, the inscription LIBERTY. On two lines below left, the national motto IN GOD WE TRUST.