Sign In or Create Account

Knowledge Center

Draped Bust Dimes 1796 – 1807

Learn About Robert Scot and Two Types of Draped Bust Dimes

The first Dimes minted by the United States Mint were Draped Bust Dimes. There are two varieties – the Small Eagle reverse which was minted in 1796 and 1797 and the Heraldic Eagle reverse which was minted in 1798 through 1807. These coins were designed by Robert Scot and the Small Eagle design was universally disliked. The American eagle on the reverse was considered to be “scrawny” and not well representative of our strong but young nation. The obverse featured Miss Liberty with her long curly hair tied with ribbons, as she faced right. At the top of the coin was the motto “LIBERTY” with 8 stars to the left of the motto and 7 stars to the right. Below her was the date. The reverse had the eagle perched above but surrounded by a wreath, tied with a bow. Around the coin was “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.”

(Robert Scot’s Small Eagle Reverse Dime of 1796 and 1797.)

So it early 1798, Robert Scot again went to work to redesign just the reverse. He scrapped the scrawny eagle and created a more majestic and regal bird, with a shield on his breast, arrows in one talon and an olive branch in the other – ready for war or peace. Above the eagle were 13 stars, with clouds above them. Again, “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” went around the coin.

(The Draped Bust Dime with Heraldic Eagle reverse of 1798 to 1807.)

In 1796, the Philadelphia Mint struck 22,135 dimes, all with the Small Eagle reverse and 15 stars on the obverse, representing a star for each state in the Union. In 1797 there were 25,261 coins struck, almost evenly split between those with 16 stars on the obverse and 13 stars on the obverse. The coins were expected to be minted with 15 stars but as soon as Tennessee became a state, the Mint added another star. Mint officials realized that if they continued to add stars for each state on our coinage, it would interfere with the intended design, so it was decided in 1798 to return to the original 13-star concept and not to alter that regardless of how many new states joined the Union.

In 1798, the mint struck 27,550 coins of which there are four varieties – 8 over 7 with 16 stars on the reverse, 8 over 7 with 13 stars on the reverse, Large 8 and a Small 8. No dimes were struck in 1799 due to a shortage in silver blanks. In 1800, another 21,760 coins were minted and in 1801 the mintage went up to 34,640 coins. In 1802 a mere 10,975 coins were produced but in 1803 the mintage went back up to 33,040.

 1804 had the smallest year of mintage with only 8,265 coins produced but there were two reverse varieties – one with 13 stars and another with 14 stars, accidentally. Finally, in 1805 the mintages exceeded 100 thousand with exactly 120,780 coins struck. But 1805 has 4 varieties – 4 berries on the olive branch on the reverse or 5 berries on the olive branch. No coins were dated 1806 but in 1807, the last year the Heraldic reverse dimes were struck, 165,000 coins were minted.

DateTypeMintageFine ValueUnc Value
1796Draped Bust – Sm Eagle22,135$6,000$28,000
1797 – 16 StarsDraped Bust – Sm Eagle25,261$6,000$35,000
1797 – 13 StarsDraped Bust – Sm EagleIncluded$6,500$60,000
1798 – 4 VarsDraped Bust – Lg Eagle27,550$4,500$40,000
1800Draped Bust – Lg Eagle21,760$2,000$25,000
1801Draped Bust – Lg Eagle34,640$2,500$35,000
1802Draped Bust – Lg Eagle10,975$4,000$40,000
1803Draped Bust – Lg Eagle33,040$2,000$50,000
1804 – 13 Stars RevDraped Bust – Lg Eagle8,265$10,000$90,000
1804 – 16 Stars RevDraped Bust – Lg EagleIncluded$16,000$110,000
1805 – Both VarsDraped Bust – Lg Eagle120,780$1,600$9,500
1807Draped Bust – Lg Eagle165,000$1,500$7,500

Expand your collection today and shop our assortment of Draped Bust Dimes.

Explore More On APMEX



Rare Coins