Stack’s Bowers Galleries

Coin Resource Center

Draped Bust Dime Draped Bust Dime

Draped Bust Dime

The first U.S. silver coins out of the gate were the half dimes, half dollars and dollars of 1794-95.  The dime and quarter had to wait until 1796 by which time Robert Scot’s Draped Bust figure of Liberty had supplanted his earlier Flowing Hair design.  The reverse continued to portray a small perched eagle enclosed in a wreath with the words “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” around the rim.  This small eagle was seen only on the first two years of the Draped Bust dime, for in 1798 a new heraldic style eagle made it appearance, and would last through 1807.

Because of its purchasing power (about $2.00 or so in today’s money) the early dimes circulated heavily, and many known examples are well-worn.  However, there is also a sufficient quantity of higher-grade pieces to enable most dedicated collectors to acquire an example grading from VF to MS if so inclined.  While no date can really be called “common”, there are no great rarities in the series.  The 1804, by virtue of its tiny mintage of only 8,265 pieces is quite scarce, with only one or possibly two mint state pieces presently known.

Type 1, Small Eagle
Type 1, Small Eagle
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Type 2, Heraldic Eagle
Type 2, Heraldic Eagle
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