One Dime, Capped Bust, Coin Type from United States - detailed information

One Dime, Capped Bust, Coin Type from United States (issued 1809 - 1837)
Coin TypeOne Dime, Capped Bust

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 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.

The Capped Bust design (also known as the Liberty Cap Dime) was the second type of dime issued into circulation, replacing the Draped Bust dime in 1809. It features a new eagle reverse which - unlike earlier coins - shows the value and denomination; the value is given as "10 cents" and not a "dime" as on all later coins. The obverse design - common for the half dime, dime, quarter and half dollar of the time - shows a new concept of the portrait of Liberty where she wears a soft cap; it was designed by John Reich and modified by Chief Engraver of the Mint, William Kneass. It proved to be a popular design and lasted from 1807 to 1839 on the half dollar, 1815 to 1838 on the quarter, 1809 to 1837 on the dime, and 1829 to 1837 on the half dime. All four of these coin were struck in 89.24% silver and 10.76% copper.

In 1828, there was a change in design which is minor according to some numismatic sources, or major according to others which classify the later coins as a new type. Pre-1828 coins have a diameter of approximately 18.8 mm, which varies slightly. With new equipment installed at the Philadelphia Mint (which is the only mint where these coins were struck), a uniform diameter could be maintained; it was slightly reduced to 18.5 mm. The design was changed to a wider border and a smaller date.

After 1837, the type was replaced by the Seated Liberty design. In later years, there were also changes in size and composition (the dime is now smaller and made of copper-nickel), but these coins have never been demonetised and are still legal tender. This, of course, is of academic interest only, as their numismatic value is enormously higher than their face value.

United States / One Dime, Capped Bust - obverse photo

The obverse of the coin shows a portrait of Liberty facing to the 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 rim is beaded.

Obverse Inscription ************* [year]
United States / One Dime, Capped Bust - reverse photo

The main device on the reverse is an 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. The colours are represented by heraldic hatching (thin lines indicating the colour - horizontal stripes for blue, vertical for red, no stripes for white). From the eagle's perspective, it holds a bundle of three arrows in its left talon, and an olive branch in its right talon.

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 olive branch, to symbolise a preference for peace.

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 rim is beaded.

EdgeMilledEdge InscriptionNone
Coin Type: One Dime, Capped Bust - (20) Coins
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One Dime, Capped Bust: Details
CountryUnited States
CurrencyUS Dollar
Sub-type ofOne Dime
Face Value10 (x Cent)
Material0.892 Silver
DesignerJohn Reich, William Kneass
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
OrientationCoin Alignment (Axis 6)
Size18.5000 mm
Mass2.7000 g