Silver Capped Bust Half Dime

Posted by on November 24, 2011

Coin Weight (g) Composition Silver Melt Value Full Melt Value
Capped (1829-1837) 1.35 89% silver, 10% copper
1829 half dime v2 rev Silver Capped Bust Half Dime

1829 Half Dime Capped Bust Reverse

The Silver Capped Bust Half Dime continued well into the 1800’s.  After not being minted since 1805 the Capped Bust silver Half Dime coin was issued in 1829 and minted through 1837.  This minting roughly coincides with the terms that Andrew Jackson served as President of the United States. 

This silver coin was designed by William Kneases. It is 15.5mm in diameter (smaller than those before), weighing 1.35 grams containing 89.24% silver and 10.76% copper.  All 13,058,700 of these half-dimes were minted in Philadelphia with a reeded edge.  They are also the first United States half-dime to have its denomination inscribed on it.

The obverse of the Silver Capped Bust Half Dime has a bust of Liberty, draped, fastened at the shoulder with a brooch, facing left wearing a cap with “LIBERTY” inscribed on its band.  The date is under the bust and seven stars encircle the left of the coin with six on the right.


The reverse has a ‘natural’ heraldic bald eagle with the ‘National’ shield and clutching an olive branch and three arrows.  “5C.” is under the eagle debuting denomination and a banner above the eagle has “E PLURIBUS UNIM” inscribed on it.  “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” encircles the top of the silver coin.

During the years no half dimes were struck Spanish-Colonial silver coins, mostly half reale coins worth about 6.5 US cents. When these coins started to decline in the United States another US half dime was decided on.  The Capped Bust was already in use for the half dollar, quarter, and dime of the time, so it was adapted.  The US has had a five cent coin struck every year since, except for 1922.

There are variations with the Silver Capped Bust Half Dime and these consist of the size of the date and or “5C” and weather these are either small or large.  Since these differences are relatively evenly distributed there usually isn’t much difference in value of these, but it is best to refer to a detailed breakdown to determine their value.

BS 1835 halfdimeSmall DateSmall 5C 300x153 Silver Capped Bust Half Dime

1835 Capped Bust Half Dime small date small 5C

There were weaker strikes during this series and make some of the higher grades be confusing between wear and the weakness of the strike.  These weak spots can include the drapery, broach, hair, motto, and the wing by the shield.  As with many of the early United States coins these are hard to find in mint condition although there are gem quality pieces available.

There were a few Silver Capped Bust Half Dime Specimen strikes, about 10 for most years but maybe as many as 40 for a couple of years. The numbers are, at best, guesses.  The “5C.” is sometimes small or large for some of the years.  Otherwise the silver Capped Liberty half-dime was produced in large enough numbers that it is relatively easy to collect.

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One comment on “Silver Capped Bust Half Dime

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