History of the Draped Bust Dime

Published: 2021-09-15 16:40:11
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The Draped Bust Dime was one of the last denominations of coins introduced in the United States. The first appearance of this dime featured liberty on the front and a small eagle on the back, which was released in limited supply in 1796 and 1797. A later version of this dime with the eagle on the reverse side ran from 1798 to 1807. These dimes range in rarity from very scarce to extremely rare and it is almost impossible to find this dime in good, let alone excellent condition.
While the dime was a later comer to American coin currency it was to become the corner stone of the American decimal system that was signed into law in 1792. Originally called a disme and weighing 41.6 grains and struck in standard silver these dimes consisted of 1485 parts pure and 179 parts copper. The original design required was that of an image emblematic of Liberty with an eagle on the reverse side. The First Dimes 1796-1797
The first dimes minted in 1796 featured an image of Liberty facing right with her with a draped bust and her hair tied with a ribbon. The word Liberty is written above her head and a number of stars line the right and left side of the coin. In 1796 the number of these stars was 15.
In 1797 the number of stars changed and two versions of these coins were minted. One version had 16 stars and the other had 13 stars (for the original 13 colonies)
All later issues of the dime featured only 13 stars
Some people believe the “model” for the Liberty image was a woman named Ann Wiling Bingham of Phildelphia, but this has been often disputed.
The reverse side of the 1796 and 1797 dime featured a small eagle with its wings spread enclosed by an olive wreath with two small ribbons at the bottom. The eagle appears to be standing on a cloud and the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA are printed on this side starting on the right side going over the top of the eagle and ending on the left side.
These dimes are the most difficult to acquire since only 50,000 of them was ever made.
The Draped Bust Dime From 1798 to 1807
After 1797 the front side of the dime remained the same with the 13 stars on either side of Liberty, but the reverse side of the dime was changed significantly. Starting in 1798 the reverse side of the dime featured a Heraldic eagle viewed from the front with a large shield at its breast. The eagle holds a ribbon in his beak with the words E PLURIBUS UNUM engraved on the ribbon. There are clouds above the eagles head and between the clouds and the eagle are 13 stars.
The claws of the eagle grasps a bundle of arrows and an olive branch and the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA appear on the coin.
Robert Scot the first engrave at the Philadelphia mint created the draped bust design based on the work of the Portrait artist Gilbert Stuart.

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