1796 Draped Bust Dime MS65
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. This is due to the fact that no Dimes were minted during these two years. 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 of 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 first Reverse design only appeared during 1796 and 1797. This design is known as the Small Eagle reverse and displays an eagle perched on top of a cloud with a wreath surrounding it. In addition, “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” appears inscribed along the rim. This design was changed to a heraldic eagle in 1798. Interestingly enough, the denomination of the coin was not indicated on either of these two reverses.
The mintage of the 1796 Draped Bust Dime is only a miniscule 22,135 coins. This specific example has been graded Mint State 65 by NGC. Out of every 1796 Draped Bust Dime minted, only 15 have been graded in MS65 condition with only 18 examples grading higher. This coin is known as Variety 2, which is only attributable to about 5 – 10% of the issue. This variety is primarily characterized by the apparent clashing of Lady Liberty’s outline that appears on the reverse. Regardless of its variety, this historic, low mintage dime remains one of the rarest and most sought-after Dimes for U.S. collectors.
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|Series||Draped Bust Dime|
|Composition||89% Silver - 11% Copper|
|Population in Grade||15|
|Finer Known Examples||18|