Tag: silver coins

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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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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