Let's learn about the history of the dime

By Katie (Katie) on April 4, 2013

Dimes have a long and interesting history. Here is a summary of the changes the dime has seen since its creation.

Disme dime
The very first dime, called the Disme dime, was minted in the year 1792, and was never circulated. It was made of 90% silver and 10% copper.
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Draped bust
The draped bust was the very first dime to be circulated. It was minted from 1796 to 1807. All 1796 coins have 15 stars on the back. In 1797, Tennessee was added to the US, so the mint put 16 stars on the back of the coin. That same year, they decided that having so many stars would clutter up the coin, so they changed it to having 13 stars, because of the 13 original colonies. That means that some 1797 coins have 15 and some have 13 stars on the back. They are also minted with 90% silver and 10% copper.

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Capped bust
Minted in the years 1809 to 1837, the Capped Bust boasts an eagle on the back, holding three arrows and an olive branch. The arrows stand for strength and the olive branch stands for peace. This was the first dime that had the value written on the coin. "10 c." , meaning 10 cents, the value of the dime. The shield on the eagle's breast has 13 stripes, standing for the original 13 colonies. There are 13 stars around the front of the coin for the same reason.
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Seated Liberty Dime
Minted in the years 1837 to 1891, the picture is of Liberty sitting on a rock and holding a shield with the words Liberty written on it. On the back of the coin is written the words "ONE DIME" surrounded by a laurel wreath. They are minted with 90% silver and 10% copper. In the front is the traditional 13 stars for the 13 colonies.

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Barber Dime

It was minted in the years 1892 to 1916. The woman on the front of the coin, Liberty, was a god, and not to be confused with Lady Liberty. She is depicted wearing a laurel wreath with the words Liberty.  The back of the coin is almost the same as the Seated Liberty Dime. The 1894-S Barber Dime is particularly rare, with only 24 ever minted and only 9 are currently known to exist.

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Winged Liberty Head (''Mercury'')

It was minted in the years 1916 to 1945.  While the head in the front looks like the Roman god Mercury, it is not. It is Liberty with a hat on with wings. The wings stand for freedom of thought. It is considered by many to be the most beautiful U.S. coin design ever minted. It is made of 90% silver and 10% copper.

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The Roosevelt dime

It was minted in 90% silver and 10% copper in the years 1946 to 1964. The olive branch, torch, and the oak branch stands for peace, liberty, and victory. The person in the front is Franklin D. Roosevelt. The mint mark is next to the oak  branch.

The present day dime.

The present day dime continues Franklin D. Roosevelt visage on the front and the oak branch and torch in the back. Due to the debased currency, thanks mostly to money printing by the Federal Reserve, the modern dime is made from cheaper metals: 92% copper and 8% nickel. The mintmark is next to the date. It is almost the same as the silver Roosevelt dime.


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Images courtesy of wikipedia and licensed under the GNU FDL license.


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Subject Thread Starter Last Reply Replies
Nice Katie Jul 12, 2013 6:57 PM 29

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