One Dime, Coin Type from United States - detailed information

One Dime, Coin Type from United States (issued 1792 - )
Coin TypeOne Dime

The dime, in United States usage, is a ten-cent coin (10¢), one tenth of a United States dollar, labelled formally as "one dime". The denomination was first authorised by the Coinage Act of 1792. The dime is the smallest in diameter and is the thinnest of all U.S. coins currently minted for circulation, being 0.705 inches (17.91 millimetres) in diameter and 0.053 in (1.35 mm) in thickness. The obverse of the current dime depicts the profile of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the reverse shows an olive branch, a torch, and an oak branch, from left to right respectively.

The word dime comes from the Old French disme (now dîme), meaning "tithe" or "tenth part", from the Latin decima [pars]. In the past prices have occasionally been quoted on signage and other materials in terms of dimes, abbreviated as "d" or a lowercase "d" with a slash through it (đ) as with the cent and mill signs. After the half dime became five cents in 1873, the dime is now the only United States coin in general circulation that is not denominated in terms of dollars or cents.

Obverse
United States / One Dime - obverse photo

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.

Obverse Inscription LIBERTY IN GOD WE TRUST [year]
Reverse
United States / One Dime - reverse photo

There have been a number of reverse designs during the history of the denomination.

The first design, known as the Small Eagle was only issued in 1796 and 1797. The main device on the reverse is an eagle, standing on a rock, with open wings, looking to right. Around the eagle, a laurel wreath tied with a ribbon below. Around, the name of the country: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. The rim is denticled (toothed). Value and denomination are not displayed on the coin.

The second design is known as the Heraldic Eagle and was issued from 1798 to 1808. At centre, it shows the main part of the obverse (or front) of the Great Seal of the United States, which displays the full achievement of the national coat of arms. The design has the Union Shield at centre. The supporter of the shield is a bald eagle with its wings outstretched; it holds a bundle of seven arrows in its right talon, and an olive branch in its left talon. In its beak, the eagle clutches a scroll with the motto E pluribus unum ("Out of Many, One"). Over its head there appears a "glory" with of clouds and 13 mullets (stars).

The recurring number 13 refers to the 13 original states. The arrows and olive branch together symbolise that the United States has "a strong desire for peace, but will always be ready for war". The eagle has its head turned towards the arrows - unlike later versions where it looks towards the olive branch, to symbolise a preference for peace. Around, the name of the country: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. The rim is denticled (toothed). Value and denomination are not displayed on the coin.

From 1809 to 1837, the reverse showed a different eagle, perched, with open wings, looking to left. On its breast, the Union Shield at centre, with thirteen vertical stripes, white and red, with a blue horizontal bar on top. Around above, a scroll inscribed with the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM ("Out of Many, One").

Around the outer rim, the name of the country: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Below the eagle, the abbreviated value and denomination 10 C. (Ten Cents).

The fourth design (1837 - 1916) showed a wreath surrounding the value and denomination, this time given as ONE DIME. There was one version of the wreath from 1837 to 1860, then it was redesigned. The Barber Dime also had a wreath on the reverse.

The fifth reverse was used on the Mercury Dime (1916 - 1945). Within a plain rim, it depicts at its centre a bundle of "fasces" (sticks) wrapped around an axe and bound both horizontally and diagonally by a leather strap, with the loose ends at the bottom. The lettering is in Roman style; around above, UNITED · STATES · OF · AMERICA; separated from this by two five-pointed stars, and divided by the bottom part of the fasces, the value and denomination ONE DIME. In the right field, on two lines the motto E · PLURIBUS UNUM.

The sixth and current design of the dime features a torch in the centre, representing liberty, flanked by an olive sprig representing peace, and one of oak symbolising strength and independence; the design as a whole is symbolic of the victorious end of World War II. Around above, in large letters the inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA; separated from this by two dots, around below are the value and denomination: · ONE DIME ·. Interrupted by the torch and two branches, horizontally in the lower half of the design is the motto E · PLURIBUS · UNUM.

Reverse Inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA · ONE DIME ·
EdgeMilledEdge InscriptionNone
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One Dime: Details
CountryUnited States
CurrencyUS Dollar
Sub-types One Dime, Draped Bust
One Dime, Capped Bust
One Dime, Seated Liberty
Barber Dime
Mercury Dime
Roosevelt Dime, Silver
Roosevelt Dime
From1792
Face Value10 (x Cent)
CurrentYes
MaterialCuproNickel
Designer
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
ShapeRound
OrientationCoin Alignment (Axis 6)
Size
Mass