Capped Bust Dime

Posted by on February 27, 2012

Coin Weight (g) Composition Silver Melt Value Full Melt Value
Capped (1809, 1811, 1814, 1820-1825, 1827-1837) 2.7 89% silver, 10% copper
BS 1830cappedbustdime 300x154 Capped Bust Dime

1830 Capped Bust Dime

The Capped Bust Dime was minted irregularly from 1809 to 1837.  They were designed by John Reich and are the first dime minted by the United States to indicate their denomination (“10C.”).  These silver coins are often placed into two types.

“Large Size” (referring to the ‘dentails’ which is the barring on the outer most rim) Capped Bust Dime was struck from 1809-1828 on screw presses with opened collars which lead to more weak strikes and they also needed a second process for creating the reeded edge.

“Small Size” refers to the silver dimes struck on the newer presses than had collars.  These collars add the reeded edge with the strike that imposes the die on the blank planchet.  Besides reducing the strike action to one press it also provided better alignment and thus better overall strength on each strike.  The Small Sized Capped Bust Dime strikes started during the 1828 minting and exclusively used from 1829 to 1837.  Collared strikes continue as the machines have advanced.

There is in general a negligible difference of diameter of these and they both are 18.9 millimeters across, 2.7 grams, 89.2% silver and 10.8% Copper. They were all struck at the Philadelphia Mint and have no mint mark.

SC 1821 Capped Bust Dime large obverse 296x300 Capped Bust Dime

1821 Capped Bust Dime large obverse

The Obverse of the Capped Bust Dime has a bust of Liberty wearing, facing left, a cap with “LIBERTY” engraved on it.  The date is directly under her by the rim.  Continuing along the rim on the left are seven stars and on the right six stars.

SC 1821 Capped Bust Dime large reverse 300x291 Capped Bust Dime

1821 Capped Bust Dime large reverse

The reverse has a bald eagle with spread and national shield on its chest clutching an olive branch in its right talon and three arrows in its right.  Directly underneath the eagle is “10c.” and above the eagle is scroll with “E PLURIBUS UNIM” then above all this and around the top two thirds of the coin by the rim is “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA”.

The Capped Bust Dime has several variations among some of the dates.  Many of these have to do with a variation in size of date (small or large) or denomination (small, medium, or large) or a single letter or number small, large, or misplaced.  Even the space was left out on two occurrences in 1814 and 1820 in the legend and ran together; “STATEOF”.

SC 1829 Capped Bust Dime Curl Base 2 obverse 300x297 Capped Bust Dime

1829 Capped Bust Dime 'curl base 2' obverse

The one most interesting is the rarer variations with the Capped Bust Dime series is the 1829 with the Curled Base on the “2” (“Curl Base 2”).  The “Curl Base 2” was not recognized until 1973.  Only thirty or so of these pieces are know of and most are in Good to Fine grades.  The key date for this series is 1822, a Good condition one starts at around sixteen hundred dollars and then up to a quarter million dollars in for a Mint State piece.

Starting in 1820 Proof dimes were also struck sometimes around five or ten of these silver coins were struck a year and occasionally as many as fifteen.

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