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1796 Draped Bust Dime: Historically Low Mintage and Rare Error Variety!

2022-04-04 18:00:00
1796 Draped Bust Dime: Historically Low Mintage and Rare Error Variety!
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1796 Draped Bust Dime: Historically Low Mintage and Rare Error Variety!

The 1796 Draped Bust Dime is the first issue of the Dime to ever be released by the United States Mint in American history. The Draped Bust design appeared on the Dime from 1796 to 1807, with the exception of 1799 and 1806 when no dimes were minted. The Draped Bust design is the second design to appear on U.S. coinage behind the Flowing Hair design, which was generally disliked by the public. It is not only the Dime that exhibited the Draped Bust design. In fact, all standard circulating coinage showcased the design. This includes the Dollar, Half Dollar, Quarter, Half Dime, and Cent as well.

The obverse of the Draped Bust Dime displays an image of Lady Liberty, which was designed by Gilbert Stuart and engraved by the first Chief Engraver of the U.S. Mint, Robert Scot. This portrait is said to have been based off Mrs. Ann Willing Bingham, a well-known socialite of the day. Around Lady Liberty are 15 stars, one for every state of the union at the time. In addition, the word “LIBERTY” is inscribed above her head. On the 1797 issue, a sixteenth star was added due to Tennessee’s admission into the union. Shortly after the sixteenth star was added, it was decided that only thirteen stars would be used on this coin design. This was done in anticipation of many more states joining the union. If a star was added for each new state, it would have made it nearly impossible to fit on the design.

Two different reverses were used on the Draped Bust Dime during its short mintage. The Small Eagle reverse was shown on the Draped Bust dime for the 1796 and 1797 issues. The design showcased an eagle perched on top of a cloud with a wreath surrounding it with “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” inscribed along the rim. This design was changed to the Heraldic Eagle reverse in 1798. Neither one of those reverses actually indicated the denomination of the coin.

The mintage of the 1796 Draped Bust Dime is often cited at 22,135 coins. There is some speculation as to whether or not this number is true. Some numismatists have suggested that as many as 32,379 Dimes may have been struck with the 1796 date. The number 22,135 comes from how many Dimes were minted in 1796, but it is possible that 10,244 Dimes were minted with the 1796 date in February and March of 1797. Regardless, this historic, low mintage dime remains one of the rarest and most sought-after Dimes for U.S. collectors.

What makes this 1796 Draped Bust Dime truly stunning and unique is the apparent clashing of Lady Liberty’s outline that appears on the reverse. Classified as Variety 2, only about 5% to 10% of this issue fit those criteria. Die clashes occur when the dies hit each other with no planchet between them, which can transfer the design of one die onto the other. Error coins are normally melted down by the mint if they are discovered before they leave the facility which makes finding desirable off-center and broadstruck error coins such as these difficult to do.

With a historically low mintage and this unique die clash variety, we wanted to put a spotlight on this unique numismatic treasure. Rare Collectibles TV is proud to offer some of the best available error and die variety coins.