Cart:

(0)
Half Cents

Bust Dimes (1796-1837)

The dime has been struck with few interruptions from the beginning of U.S. coinage to the present day. These were sanctioned originally in the Coinage Act of 1792, and these small Silver coins have remained the 10-cent piece from their inception until now.

Bust Dime Design

The dime was originally called the “disme” (pronounced “deem”) in the Coinage Act, but once it was struck as a pattern coin the name rapidly changed to “dime” as Americans struggled to pronounce the French-origin word.

The dime was struck for circulation first a few years after its smaller sibling the half dime and was based on the same metal composition. Bust dimes were struck from 89.24% Silver and 10.76% Copper, an alloy that was slightly modified for future releases.

The Draped Bust design was created by Robert Scot, the chief engraver of the U.S. Mint at the time, and ran from 1796 to 1807. As part of a redesign of current circulating U.S. coinage, Scot changed the reverse wreath to an olive wreath symbolizing peace. He also updated Liberty’s design to remove the cap and replace it with a ribbon as well as adding a drape-like garment to the bust (which gives this design its name). These ran with two different reverses and minor changes, including variable numbers of stars. There are also overstrikes that can be found in some years.

The Capped Bust came next, a John Reich design engraved by William Kneass. After the dime began to be struck again in 1809, the portrait changed to a Liberty with a cap on her head. These coins ran through 1837 before being succeeded by the Liberty Seated design.

Errors, overstrikes and varieties of these coins are more common in earlier years than they are in later years. That is because of the crude nature of the process by which they were made. Coin-making technology has come a long way since those strikes and later coins were changed less than these earlier varieties.

Historical Significance

Errors, overstrikes and varieties of these coins are more common in earlier years than they are in later years. That is because of the crude nature of the process by which they were made. Coin-making technology has come a long way since those strikes and later coins were changed less than these earlier varieties.

Numismatic Value

Early dimes are very hard to find, but later mintages are more common. Some early types in the Capped Bust series are available for a reasonable price in lower grades. Higher grades can get prohibitively expensive very fast. Draped Bust examples in higher grades are out of range of all but the most dedicated and well-heeled collectors, and even low-grade examples cost hundreds of dollars.

The higher populations of later series like the Liberty Seated make them a much easier prospect for intermediate collectors. Early examples of U.S. coinage including the dime are not easy to get one’s hands on.

Shop Now
PCGS Logo

PCGS Products

You need the most up-to-date pricing on your coin collection. That’s why APMEX has partnered with PCGS, the premier grading authority in the world of rare coins, to bring you constantly updated pricing on collectibles and rarities. PCGS has been grading coins since 1986, bringing consistent standards of quality to a fractured industry. In the years since, they have remained a source of reliable information on the current collectible and rare coin market.

Shop Now

Items in Cart (0)


There are no items in the cart.

AURIC