The Dime is the basis of our
coinage system.

The dime or disme was an incredibly important denomination in the early days. Congress wanted to fully decimalize federal coinage. For this to happen, the public needed to fully accept a coin that was going to be 1/10th the value of a dollar. Dimes have been minted from 1796 and are still in production today.

Alexander Hamilton devised the decimal system for Federal coinage in 1791. This system consisted of both $10.00 and $1.00 gold coins, two silver coins of $1.00 and 10 cents, and two copper coins of the cent and half cent denominations. The system Hamilton

created later became law on April 2, 1792.

This system was adopted in 1791 and was later modified to include five other denominations to phase out the gold dollar coins. These other denominations included the half disme, quarter, half dollar, quarter

eagle ($2.50 gold), and the half eagle ($5.00 gold). Despite the addition of these extra denominations the gold dollar continued production until 1889.

The reason for using a 1/10 scale for coinage was that Congress wanted to phase out the

use of the Spanish Dollar or (Piece of Eight). Dates of these coins range from 1732 to 1772 and they were widely used in commerce by American colonists. The Spanish Milled Dollar sometimes referred to as the "Pillar Dollar" had denominations in 12 1/2 cent increments called a "bit". This is why the term "2 bit" in

relation to the quarter is still used today.

The original Draped Bust Dime did not have a denomination to indicate the coin's value. Finally, after several years, the Capped Bust Type was released in 1809. This type had on its reverse a "10 C" marking the value of the


During the years of 1837 to 1891 this coin had many changes in the Seated Liberty motif. The Seated Liberty design had one type with no stars then a type with stars. Also, it had a design with arrows, one with a

legend, and one with both. Some designs stop and start back up again as well.

This denomination encompasses thirteen different major design types. They are as follows:

Draped Bust Type Small Eagle (1796-1797)
Draped Bust Type Heraldic Eagle (1798-1807)
Capped Bust Type Wide Border (1809-1828)
Capped Bust Type Beaded Border(1828-1837)
Seated Liberty Type no Stars (1837-1838)
Seated Liberty Type with Stars (1838-1860)
Seated Liberty Type Arrows (1853-1855)

Seated Liberty Type Legend (1860-1891)
Seated Liberty Type Arr & Leg (1873-1874)
Barber Type (1892-1916)
Mercury Type (1916-1945)
Roosevelt Type Silver (1946-1964)
Roosevelt Type Clad (1965-Date)

Dime Back to Coin Collecting Homepage

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