The Capped Bust Dime, an early American coinage series, holds a special place in numismatic history, representing a fascinating era of the nation’s coin design evolution. Minted from 1809 to 1837, the Capped Bust Dime features a distinctive obverse design of Lady Liberty with a liberty cap on her head, giving the series its name. This article explores the captivating journey of the Capped Bust Dime, its historical context, and delves into the most valuable years and versions that captivate collectors.
The Birth of the Capped Bust Dime
The Capped Bust Dime emerged as a result of a collaborative effort between Mint Engraver John Reich and Chief Engraver William Kneass. The design, which replaced the Draped Bust Dime, featured a more mature and refined representation of Lady Liberty. The obverse displayed Liberty facing left, wearing a cap inscribed with the word “LIBERTY” and surrounded by stars. The reverse showcased an eagle perched on a branch, clutching arrows and an olive branch, encapsulated within a wreath.
Evolution of the Design
The Capped Bust Dime underwent several modifications throughout its production years. The design transitioned from the “Large Size” type, minted from 1809 to 1828, to the “Reduced Size” type, produced from 1828 until the end of the series in 1837. The reduction in size aimed to address issues related to planchet thickness and weight.
Within the Capped Bust Dime series, several notable varieties attract collectors due to unique characteristics and historical significance:
- 1822 Capped Bust Dime
The 1822 Capped Bust Dime is a notable variety with two distinct subtypes: the “Large Date” and the “Small Date.” The Large Date variety is rarer and thus more sought after among collectors. Its scarcity adds an extra layer of challenge for numismatists aiming to complete a comprehensive Capped Bust Dime collection.
- 1835-1837 Capped Bust Dime
The later years of the Capped Bust Dime series, particularly those minted from 1835 to 1837, feature a modified version of the design with a slightly different appearance, known as the “1835-1837 Capped Bust Dime.” While not as valuable as some earlier dates, these coins still hold historical significance and are part of the evolving narrative of American coinage during the 19th century.
Most Valuable Capped Bust Dimes
When it comes to determining the most valuable Capped Bust Dimes, collectors often look at factors such as mintage numbers, condition, and historical significance. Here are some of the most coveted Capped Bust Dimes:
- 1809 Capped Bust Dime
As the inaugural year for the series, the 1809 Capped Bust Dime is highly sought after by collectors. With a mintage of only 51,065, this coin is relatively scarce, contributing to its desirability.
- 1811 Capped Bust Dime
The 1811 Capped Bust Dime is another key date in the series, known for its low mintage of approximately 100,000 coins. Collectors value this coin for its historical significance and relative rarity compared to other years.
- 1829 Capped Bust Dime
The 1829 Capped Bust Dime is notable for its status as a transitional year between the Large Size and Reduced Size varieties. Collectors often seek out both varieties, adding an extra layer of complexity to completing a comprehensive collection.
- 1830 Small 10C
The 1830 Small 10C variety is a standout due to its distinct appearance. The small size of the 10C on the reverse makes this coin a unique and sought-after addition to any Capped Bust Dime collection.
The Capped Bust Dime, with its distinctive design and historical significance, offers collectors a captivating journey into the early days of American coinage. Assembling a collection of Capped Bust Dimes allows numismatists to witness the evolution of design and manufacturing techniques during a crucial period in the nation’s history. While some dates and varieties are more challenging to acquire than others, each Capped Bust Dime contributes to the rich tapestry of American numismatics, making this series a cherished pursuit for collectors passionate about early U.S. coinage.