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 striking, and imparted to the dime a reeded edge, a process that had previously been done manually. Not only was edge reeding more efficiently done with the close collar, it was necessary; any previously imparted edge designs would have been obliterated by that collar during minting. The Small Size Capped Bust dime was thicker than the previous Capped Bust dime, thus slightly smaller in diameter in order to meet the weight standards previously established.
Photos used with permission and courtesy of Heritage Auction Galleries
Though the close collar process introduced a measure of uniformity, dates, stars, and letters were still hand punched on dime dies, which accounts for the number of die varieties known for a series of relatively short length. Subsequent study of Capped Bust dimes has shown that even with the close collar the diameter of dimes produced during this period still varied, particularly through 1834, because not all collars were the same size. Rather than size, the primary means of determining the type is the design of the rim details. Dimes produced prior to the introduction of the close collar have dentils around the edge, a larger radial design that formed a complete circle even if the planchet was struck slightly off center. The Small Size Capped Bust dimes have a raised rim, followed along the inside by small beads laid out in a pattern similar to that of the previous dentils. Kneass modified John Reich’s design for the smaller dime size and for the new minting processes, though no significant design changes were made. In the transition year of 1837 both Capped Bust dimes and the subsequent Liberty Seated design were produced.
The obverse features a matronly Liberty, facing left and wearing a mobcap bound at the base with a ribbon. The ribbon displays LIBERTY and is tied at the back. Liberty has long curling hair that peeks from under the cap at the front and sides, and cascades down the back. A loosely draped garment lies across the bust and shoulder, secured with a small clasp above the shoulder. Thirteen six-point stars are to the sides of Liberty, seven to the left and six to the right, and the stars form a circle inside the beaded border. The date is at the bottom.
The reverse shows a centered left-facing eagle, with extended but partly folded wings. The eagle clutches an olive branch in the right claw and three arrows in the left. A shield is placed over the chest. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA forms a concentric arc to the inside of the top two-thirds of the raised rim and beaded border, with the denomination of 10 C. at the bottom visually completing the circle. A simply curved banner, ends folded to the back, displays E PLURIBUS UNUM. All coins were minted at Philadelphia and display no mintmark.
Several hundred business strike Capped Bust Small Size dimes have been certified, including a few prooflike pieces. Prices are moderate for most dates at grades up to and including near-Gem, expensive as Gem and finer. The most expensive date is the 1829 Curl Base 2, which is expensive at all grades. Very few proof coins have been certified, though there are a couple with a Cameo designation. All are expensive, with prices very expensive as Select proof and finer.
Designer: John Reich
Circulation Mintage: high 1,410,000 (1835), low 359,500 (1837); however, the combined Large Size and Small Size mintage for 1828 was 125,000 pieces.
Proof Mintage: high 15 (1831-1835, estimated), low 10 (1828-1830 and 1836-1837, estimated).
Denomintion: $0.10 Ten cents Dime (10/100)
Diameter: ±18.5 mm; reeded edge
Metal content: 89.24% silver, 10.76% copper
Weight: ±2.7 grams (slightly lower for some 1837 coins, per the Mint Act of January 18, 1837)
Varieties: Several known including 1828 Small Date, Square Base 2; 1829 Curl Base 2, and Small, Medium, and Large 10 C.; 1830/29, and Large and Small 10 C.; 1833 last 3 high; 1834 Small 4 and Large 4; and other minor die variations..
Additional Resources :
Coin Encyclopedia: www.ngccoin.com
Early United States Dimes 1796-1837. Russell Logan, John McCloskey, et al. John Reich Collectors Society.
The Official Red Book: A Guide Book of United States Coins. R.S Yeoman (author), Kenneth Bressett (editor). Whitman Publishing.
A Guide Book of United States Type Coins. Q. David Bowers. Whitman Publishing.
United States Coinage: A Study by Type. Ron Guth and Jeff Garrett. Whitman Publishing.
The Experts Guide to Collecting & Investing in Rare Coins. Q. David Bowers. Whitman Publishing.
The U.S. Mint and Coinage. Don Taxay. Arco Publishing
Walter Breen’s Encyclopedia of U.S. Coins. Walter Breen. Doubleday.