US Type Coins

Double Eagles – Liberty Head Double Eagle, With Motto, 1866-1876

Double Eagles – Liberty Head Double Eagle, With Motto, 1866-1876

Description: When the double eagle was proposed one of the arguments in support of the new coin was that a depositor with a large amount of bullion would find the $20 coin a more convenient product than smaller denomination coins. One of the sponsors of the double eagle authorizing legislation, Representative James McKay of North […]

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Double Eagles – Liberty Head Double Eagle, With Motto, 1877-1907

Double Eagles – Liberty Head Double Eagle, With Motto, 1877-1907

Description: This last variation of the Liberty double eagle, often labeled Type 3, was produced in large quantities, particularly during the last decade of the 19th century and in the years leading to the end of the series in 1907. In most years the output from the San Francisco branch mint was greater than the […]

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Double Eagles – 1907 $20 High Relief, Wire Rim

Double Eagles – 1907 $20 High Relief, Wire Rim

Frank A. Leach was superintendent of the U.S. Mint in San Francisco from 1897 to 1907. He assumed the title of Mint director in Washington in 1907 after the resignation of George E. Roberts from the post, and moved there in time to assume his new duties by Oct. 1, 1907. As the following excerpt […]

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Double Eagles – Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, Without Motto, 1907-1908

Double Eagles – Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, Without Motto, 1907-1908

Description: “I think our coinage is artistically of atrocious hideousness. Would it be possible, without asking permission of Congress, to employ a man like Saint-Gaudens to give us a coinage that would have some beauty?”. So wrote President Theodore Roosevelt to Secretary of the Treasury Leslie Mortier Shaw in December, 1904. The drama of Roosevelt’s […]

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Double Eagles – Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, With Motto, 1908-1933

Double Eagles – Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, With Motto, 1908-1933

Description: The first Saint-Gaudens double eagles, acclaimed as one of the most beautiful and artistic U.S. coin designs, did not display the motto IN GOD WE TRUST anywhere on the coin. Even though the Coinage Act of 1890 did not include that motto in the list of required wording to be placed on U.S. coins, […]

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Half Dimes – 1792 Half Disme

Half Dimes – 1792 Half Disme

Throughout the broad range of U.S. coinage from 1792 to the present day, this issue is arguably the most significant of any that has ever been struck. Although still recorded as a pattern issue in some references, most numismatists now consider the 1792 half disme to be a regular issue coin. Slightly smaller than a […]

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Half Dimes – Flowing Hair Half Dime, 1794-1795

Half Dimes – Flowing Hair Half Dime, 1794-1795

Description: Small numbers of half dimes were made in 1792, a tangible result of the efforts of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander Hamilton to move the United States to a decimal coinage system. The 1792 coins are often collected as contract issues or patterns, though wear on the coins indicates that they did circulate. […]

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Half Dimes – Draped Bust Half Dime, Small Eagle, 1796-1797

Half Dimes – Draped Bust Half Dime, Small Eagle, 1796-1797

Description: Robert Scot’s Flowing Hair half dime design, used in 1794 and 1795, was disparaged by some for his portrayals both of Liberty and the reverse eagle. Perhaps responding to that criticism, Mint Director Henry W. DeSaussure announced a goal of improving the designs of all silver coins. Artist Gilbert Stuart (known for his portrait […]

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Half Dimes – Draped Bust Half Dime, Heraldic Eagle, 1800-1805

Half Dimes – Draped Bust Half Dime, Heraldic Eagle, 1800-1805

Description: Following a two-year gap in production, mintage of half dimes resumed in 1800. The obverse portrait of Liberty remained, though slightly updated, but the reverse was extensively modified. Most noticeable, and giving name to the type, was the change of the eagle to the outstretched wing, heraldic style copied from the Great Seal of […]

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Half Dimes – Capped Bust Half Dime, 1829-1837

Half Dimes – Capped Bust Half Dime, 1829-1837

Description: The Draped Bust half dime was last produced in 1805, the final year of a short five-year series of the type (no half dimes were produced in 1804). Production of half dimes resumed in 1829, the first samples struck early on July 4 as part of the events surrounding the laying of the cornerstone […]

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Half Dimes – Liberty Seated Half Dime, No Stars, 1837-1838

Half Dimes – Liberty Seated Half Dime, No Stars, 1837-1838

Description: The portrayal of Liberty shown on Seated coins was favored by Mint Director Robert M. Patterson, who apparently did not like portraits on coins. This representation of Liberty was similar to the figure of Britannia used on copper English coins. Originally the Roman name for the island of Great Britain, Britannia became personified as […]

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Half Dimes – Liberty Seated Half Dime, Stars, No Drapery 1838-1840

Half Dimes – Liberty Seated Half Dime, Stars, No Drapery 1838-1840

Description: Though the No Stars half dime was a more faithful rendition of the cameo-like Liberty Seated design as implemented by Christian Gobrecht, objections were voiced about the “missing” stars. William Kneass had included 13 small stars to the sides of Liberty on the previous Capped Bust half dime, but Gobrecht did not include them […]

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Half Dimes – Liberty Seated Half Dime, Stars, 1838-1859

Half Dimes – Liberty Seated Half Dime, Stars, 1838-1859

Description: This type might be more specifically described as the Stars, Drapery half dime, to distinguish it from the previous 1838-1840 Stars, No Drapery issue prepared by Christian Gobrecht. Robert Ball Hughes, a sculptor originally from London, was hired in late 1840 to make modifications to Liberty on the Seated design for half dimes, dimes, […]

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Half Dimes – Liberty Seated Half Dime, Arrows, 1853-1855

Half Dimes – Liberty Seated Half Dime, Arrows, 1853-1855

Description: The Act of February 21, 1853, established the prevalence of fiat coinage for this nation; the value stamped on a coin was what the government said it was, not necessarily related to the value of the material from which that coin was made. Though for at least the past generation all circulating coins have […]

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Half Dimes – Liberty Seated Half Dime, Legend, 1860-1873

Half Dimes – Liberty Seated Half Dime, Legend, 1860-1873

Description: After the weight of the half dime was reduced in 1853 (indicated by an arrow on either side of the date through 1855, then dropped from the motif), the design was unchanged until 1860. In that year Chief Engraver James B. Longacre replaced the thirteen obverse stars with UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, and replaced […]

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Dimes – Ten Cent Draped Bust Small Eagle, 1796-1797

Dimes – Ten Cent Draped Bust Small Eagle, 1796-1797

Description: Thomas Jefferson proposed a decimal system for U.S. coinage in 1783 partly to signify a break from Old World traditions, partly to recognize growing acceptance of that system for use in calculations. This view was promoted by Alexander Hamilton, first treasury secretary, who recommended six denominations including a silver “tenth”, the tenth part of […]

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Dimes – Ten Cent Draped Bust Heraldic Eagle, 1798-1807

Dimes – Ten Cent Draped Bust Heraldic Eagle, 1798-1807

Description: The Mint Act of 1792 specified coins of various denominations, including “dismes” which were to be “of the value of one tenth of a dollar”. The first dimes were produced in 1786 from designs by Robert Scot, with an obverse Liberty said to be modeled after a Philadelphia socialite and a reverse eagle similar […]

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Dimes – Capped Bust Dime, Large Size, 1809-1828

Dimes – Capped Bust Dime, Large Size, 1809-1828

Description: John Reich’s Capped Bust Liberty was first used on half dollars and half eagles, quarter eagles and quarter dollars, and half dimes. When Capped Bust dimes were produced, Mexican and Spanish coins were legal tender, the familiar and preferred small denomination silver coins. The two-reales coin (“two bits”) was roughly equivalent to the U.S. […]

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Dimes – Capped Bust Dime, Small Size, 1828-1837

Dimes – Capped Bust Dime, Small Size, 1828-1837

Description: After Robert Scot died in 1823 William Kneass became Chief Engraver. In order to meet requirements of greater coin output and a more standardized design (to help thwart counterfeiting), Kneass implemented a mechanical change in the coin production process, the close collar or collar die. This die encircled the planchet, restricting outward flow during […]

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Dimes – Liberty Seated Dime, No Obverse Stars, 1837-1838

Dimes – Liberty Seated Dime, No Obverse Stars, 1837-1838

Description: The portrayal of Liberty on Seated coins was favored by Mint Director Robert M. Patterson, who apparently did not like portraits on coins. This representation of Liberty was similar to the figure of Britannia used on copper English coins. Originally the Roman name for the island of Great Britain, Britannia became personified as a […]

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Dimes – Liberty Seated Dime, Stars, Drapery, 1840-1860

Dimes – Liberty Seated Dime, Stars, Drapery, 1840-1860

Description: Robert Hughes, a sculptor originally from London, was hired in late 1840 to make modifications to Christian Gobrecht’s Liberty on the Seated design for half dimes, dimes, and other silver coins. Along with other changes, Hughes added extra drapery that extended from Liberty’s left elbow down over her knee. In 1853 an arrow was […]

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Dimes – Liberty Seated Dime, Stars, No Drapery, 1838-1840

Dimes – Liberty Seated Dime, Stars, No Drapery, 1838-1840

Description: Though the No Stars dime was a more faithful rendition of the cameo-like Liberty Seated design as implemented by Christian Gobrecht, objections were voiced about the “missing” stars. William Kneass had included 13 small stars to the sides of Liberty on the previous Capped Bust style, but Gobrecht did not include them on the […]

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Dimes – Liberty Seated Dime, Stars, Drapery, Arrows, 1853-1855

Dimes – Liberty Seated Dime, Stars, Drapery, Arrows, 1853-1855

Description: The Coinage Act of February 21, 1853, established the prevalence of fiat coinage for this nation; that is, the value stamped on a coin was what the government said it was, not necessarily the value of the material from which that coin was made. Maintaining parity between the face value and the metal value […]

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Dimes – Liberty Seated Dime, Obverse Legend, 1860-1891

Dimes – Liberty Seated Dime, Obverse Legend, 1860-1891

Description: The 13 stars added to the obverse of the dime in 1838 satisfied the interests of those who missed the John Reich/ William Kneass stars from the earlier Capped Bust style; but those stars were considered the reason for the incomplete strikes common to the type. The stars were opposite raised portions of the […]

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Dimes – Seated Dime, Obverse Legend, Arrows 1873-1874

Dimes – Seated Dime, Obverse Legend, Arrows 1873-1874

Description: The Mint Act of February 12, 1873, mandated a slight increase in the weight of the dime, to 2.50 grams; a difference which was within the allowable weight tolerance of the current dime planchet. Some have speculated that previously made planchets were used to produce dimes in 1873 and 1874 even after the mandated […]

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Dimes – Barber Dime, 1892-1916

Dimes – Barber Dime, 1892-1916

Description: The Mint Act of 1890 allowed for change of coin designs every 25 years, and the dime, quarter, and half dollar were eligible for a redesign in 1891. An initial competition to come up with a new design was opened only to 10 eminent U.S. sculptors, but when those invited presented a list of […]

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Dimes – Winged Liberty (“Mercury”) Dime, 1916-1945

Dimes – Winged Liberty (“Mercury”) Dime, 1916-1945

Description: The Mint Act of 1890 allowed the design of a coin to be changed every 25 years. Thus, in 1916, there was interest in replacing Charles E. Barber’s designs for the dime, quarter, and half dollar. Mint Director Robert W. Woolley invited three renown sculptors outside the Mint to produce designs for the three […]

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Dimes – Roosevelt Silver Dime 1946-1964

Dimes – Roosevelt Silver Dime 1946-1964

Description: Franklin D. Roosevelt led the United States through both the economic depression of the early 1930s and World War II, events that defined a generation of Americans. When he died in April 1945 he was mourned not only by citizens who lived through those times, but also by much of the free world. In […]

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Dimes – Roosevelt Clad Dime, 1964- present

Dimes – Roosevelt Clad Dime, 1964- present

Description: Franklin Roosevelt’s portrait on the dime was a fitting choice in 1946. He was a revered figure for many of the “Greatest Generation”, those who lived through the 1930s Great Depression and prevailed in World War II. Though his Administrations were not without criticism (numismatists might lament his 1933 Executive Order that mandated the […]

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Twenty Cents – 1875-1878

Twenty Cents – 1875-1878

Description: The United States twenty cent coin (often called a twenty cent piece) was a unit of currency equalling 1/5th of a United States dollar. The twenty cent coin had one of the shortest mintages and lowest circulations in US coin history, for both the series and the denomination. It was minted from 1875-1878, but […]

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