US Type Coins

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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Quarters – Draped Bust Small Eagle Quarter, 1796

Quarters – Draped Bust Small Eagle Quarter, 1796

Description: The Draped Bust half dollar was introduced after only two years of production of the previous design. The simple portrait of Liberty on the Flowing Hair type was criticized as being an inappropriate representation, not dignified with her wildly flowing hair more aboriginal than aristocratic. The eagle was especially vilified; one letter writer compared […]

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Quarters – Draped Bust Heraldic Eagle Quarter, 1804-1807

Quarters – Draped Bust Heraldic Eagle Quarter, 1804-1807

Description: In contrast to the situation today, where quarters are probably the most commonly used coin for transactions, in the early 1800s few were used. It was one of the last U.S. coins to be produced following the Mint Act of 1792, and after a modest production in 1796 no more were struck until 1804. […]

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Quarters – Capped Bust Quarter, Large Size, 1815-1828

Quarters – Capped Bust Quarter, Large Size, 1815-1828

Description: The last Draped Bust, Heraldic Eagle quarter dollar was minted in 1807, the same year that German immigrant John Reich was hired by the U.S. Mint. Tasked with creating new coinage designs, Reich modified Liberty’s portrait and the reverse eagle, producing designs that appeared on the half dollar and half eagle in 1807, the […]

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Quarters – Capped Bust Quarter, Small Diameter, 1831-1838

Quarters – Capped Bust Quarter, Small Diameter, 1831-1838

Description: Quarters with John Reich’s Capped Bust design, introduced in 1815, were not produced in 1829 and 1830. When mintage began again in 1831 it was with new technology, the “close collar”, which surrounded the edge of the planchet during striking. This collar die prevented the planchet from spreading outward, giving a size uniformity to […]

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Quarters – Liberty Seated Quarter, No Motto, No Drapery, 1838-1840

Quarters – Liberty Seated Quarter, No Motto, No Drapery, 1838-1840

Description: Engraver Christian Gobrecht’s Liberty Seated motif was first seen in 1836 on the silver dollar, and in 1837 on the half dime and dime. The design was applied to the quarter in 1838, though the year has both this type and the previous Capped Bust type. The first half dime and dime issues did […]

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Quarters – Liberty Seated Quarter, No Motto, Drapery, 1840-1865

Quarters – Liberty Seated Quarter, No Motto, Drapery, 1840-1865

Description: Liberty Seated quarters produced in 1838, 1839, and part of 1840 did not have an extra fold of drapery hanging forward from Liberty’s left elbow. Mint Director Robert Maskell Patterson hired miniaturist Robert Ball Hughes in 1840 to improve the design (both styles were produced in 1840), though many commentators question whether the changes […]

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Quarters – Liberty Seated Quarter, Arrows and Rays, 1853

Quarters – Liberty Seated Quarter, Arrows and Rays, 1853

Description: The discovery of gold in California and other places in the late 1840s and early 1850s resulted in an abundance of that metal flowing into the realm of commerce. A consequence of this was that the price of gold fell relative to the price of silver. By 1853 the bullion content of silver coins […]

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Quarters – Liberty Seated Quarter, Arrows, 1854-1855

Quarters – Liberty Seated Quarter, Arrows, 1854-1855

Description: Through the Mint Act of February 21, 1853, the weights of fractional silver coins (half dime, dime, quarter, and half dollar) were reduced to remove the incentive the melt those coins for bullion; the silver content of the older heavier-weight coins was worth more than their face value. So that the new lighter-weight quarters […]

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Quarters – Liberty Seated Quarter with motto 1866-1891

Quarters – Liberty Seated Quarter with motto 1866-1891

Description: The “Seated Liberty” designs appeared on most regular-issue silver United States coinage during the mid- and late-nineteenth century, from 1836 through 1891. The denominations which featured the Seated Liberty design included the half dime, the dime, the quarter, the half dollar, and the silver dollar. Another coin that appeared exclusively in the Seated Liberty […]

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Quarters – Liberty Seated Quarter, Arrows, 1873-1874

Quarters – Liberty Seated Quarter, Arrows, 1873-1874

Description: Liberty Seated quarters were produced from 1838 through 1891, eventually replaced by Charles E. Barber’s Liberty Head motif. A Guide Book of United States Coins, the familiar Red Book, recognizes five types of Seated quarters; in two instances a preceding type (as defined by the obverse/ reverse designs) was resumed after a short period […]

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Quarters – Barber Quarter 1892-1916

Quarters – Barber Quarter 1892-1916

Description: The Mint Act of 1890 allowed for change of coin designs every twenty-five years, and the dime, quarter, and half dollar were eligible to be changed in 1891. A contest was held to come up with a new design; judges for the entries included Engraver Charles E. Barber and artist Augustus Saint-Gaudens. However, when […]

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Quarters – Standing Liberty Quarter, Type 1, 1916-1917

Quarters – Standing Liberty Quarter, Type 1, 1916-1917

Description: Charles Barber’s quarter dollar design was introduced in 1892, a beneficiary of the provision of the Mint Act of 1890 which allowed for the design of a coin to be changed every 25 years. Though not mandated by law, Barber’s designs for the dime, quarter, and half dollar were set aside in 1916. Mint […]

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Quarters – Standing Liberty Quarter, Type 2, 1917-1930

Quarters – Standing Liberty Quarter, Type 2, 1917-1930

Description: In 1916 Charles E. Barber’s designs for the dime, quarter, and half dollar were set aside, replaced by Adolph A. Weinman’s designs for the dime (Winged Liberty Head, or Mercury) and half dollar (Liberty Walking); and Hermon A. MacNeil’s design for the quarter. MacNeil, a noted sculptor for public works projects, placed a standing […]

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Quarters – Washington Quarter, 1932-1964

Quarters – Washington Quarter, 1932-1964

Description: The United States in the early 1930s suffered under the effects of a widespread economic depression that followed the 1929 stock market crash. The crisis was made worse by severe agricultural stress caused by land erosion and southern plains dust storms, a result of several years of drought combined with poor framing practices. Against […]

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Half Dollars – Flowing Hair 1794-1795 Half Dollar

Half Dollars – Flowing Hair 1794-1795 Half Dollar

Description: The Half Dollar of the United States, sometimes known as the fifty-cent piece, has been produced nearly every year since the inception of the United States Mint in 1794. The only U.S. coin that has been minted more consistently is the cent. A two year Type coin, the 1794 Flowing Hair half Dollar was […]

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Half Dollars – Draped Bust Small Eagle Half Dollar, 1796-1797

Half Dollars – Draped Bust Small Eagle Half Dollar, 1796-1797

Description: The Draped Bust half dollar was introduced after only two years of production of the previous design. The simple portrait of Liberty on the Flowing Hair type was criticized as being an inappropriate representation, not dignified with her wildly flowing hair more aboriginal than aristocratic. The eagle was especially vilified; one letter writer compared […]

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Half Dollars – Draped Bust Heraldic Eagle Half Dollar, 1801-1807

Half Dollars – Draped Bust Heraldic Eagle Half Dollar, 1801-1807

Description: The Draped Bust Small Eagle half dollar type was minted for two years, as was the Flowing Hair type that preceded it. No half dollars were minted from 1798 through 1800, and when the series resumed in 1801 the design was changed again. The obverse was essentially the same, but the eagle on the […]

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Half Dollars – Capped Bust, Lettered Edge Half Dollar, 1807-1836

Half Dollars – Capped Bust, Lettered Edge Half Dollar, 1807-1836

Description: Two half dollar series are called “Bust Halves”, the earlier Draped Bust type that ended in 1807 and the Capped Bust type that started in 1807 and ended in 1839. Capped Bust halves produced through 1836 have a lettered edge, but in 1836 the edge was changed to the familiar reeded style. Though there […]

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Half Dollars – Capped Bust, Reeded Edge Half Dollar, 1836-1839

Half Dollars – Capped Bust, Reeded Edge Half Dollar, 1836-1839

Description: In 1836 Christian Gobrecht completed work for new Capped Bust half dollar obverse and reverse dies in preparation for the transition from man- or animal-powered coinage presses to new steam-powered presses. The new coins were slightly reduced in weight and diameter, but the most significant change was the use of a restraining collar around […]

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Half Dollars – Liberty Seated Half Dollar, No Motto, No Drapery, 1839

Half Dollars – Liberty Seated Half Dollar, No Motto, No Drapery, 1839

Description: Capped Bust half dollars produced at the end of 1836 were some of the first coins made using new steam coinage presses and a close collar, which restricted expansion of the planchet during striking while at the same time giving a reeded edge to the coin. Capped Bust reeded edge halves were produced for […]

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Half Dollars – Liberty Seated Half Dollar, No Motto, With Drapery, 1839-1866

Half Dollars – Liberty Seated Half Dollar, No Motto, With Drapery, 1839-1866

Description: The Liberty Seated design was first seen on Christian Gobrecht’s silver dollar in 1836, the inaugural year of that three-year type that ended in 1839 (no dollars were produced in 1837). The soaring eagle on the reverse of the dollar was not used on smaller denomination coins, and when the Seated design appeared on […]

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Half Dollars – 1853 Seated Half Dollar – Arrows and Rays

Half Dollars – 1853 Seated Half Dollar – Arrows and Rays

Description: The 1853 is a highly desirable one-year type Seated Half Dollar with arrows at the date and rays on the reverse added to indicate a weight reduction from 13.36 grams to 12.44 grams. While Arrows and Rays Halves are relatively available in the better grades of AU and lower-end Uncirculated, there are very few […]

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Half Dollars – Liberty Seated Half Dollar, Arrows at Date, 1854-1855

Half Dollars – Liberty Seated Half Dollar, Arrows at Date, 1854-1855

Description: The Liberty Seated half dollar series is comprised of several subtypes. Rising silver prices that followed the influx of California gold into the monetary system in the late 1840s and early 1850s created a situation where the bullion value of silver coins was greater than the face value. To halt the melting of silver […]

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Half Dollars – Liberty Seated Half Dollar, Motto, With Drapery, 1866-1891

Half Dollars – Liberty Seated Half Dollar, Motto, With Drapery, 1866-1891

Description: The Civil War ended in May, 1865, with the surrender of the last Confederate troops. President Lincoln had been assassinated the previous month, and the nation was not only mourning his death but also the loss of over 600,000 husbands, sons, brothers, and friends. Twice as many soldiers had been killed by disease rather […]

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Half Dollars – Liberty Seated Half Dollar, Motto, With Drapery, Arrows, 1873-1874

Half Dollars – Liberty Seated Half Dollar, Motto, With Drapery, Arrows, 1873-1874

Description: The Mint Act of February 12, 1873, changed the weight of the half dollar by a minuscule amount, from 12.44 grams to 12.5 grams, in order to apply a metric uniformity to the coin’s weight. An arrow was again added to each side of the date to indicate the changed weight, the same reason […]

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Half Dollars – Barber Half Dollar, 1892-1915

Half Dollars – Barber Half Dollar, 1892-1915

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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