Learn About the Varieties of Capped Bust Half Dimes
There was a 23-year hiatus between the last Draped Bust Half Dime in 1805 and the first new Capped Bust Half Dime in 1829. The coins were designed by the Chief Engraver of the U.S. Mint, William Kneass.
History of the Capped Bust Half Dime
Due to the rise in the price of Silver, the Silver fineness remained the same at .8924, but the size of the coin changed from the earlier Draped Bust Half Dime coins (1794 – 1805). The diameter shrunk by 1 millimeter – from 16.5 mm to 15.5 mm. Most people could not notice that difference, but they did notice that the designs had changed on both sides. The Draped Bust Miss Liberty, facing right, was gone and replaced by another version of Miss Liberty.
Capped Bust Half Dimes Design
This Miss Liberty looked a little different than the previous version. The design featured her hair down, but most of it was covered, as it was inside of her Phrygian cap. The cap, as before, featured the word “LIBERTY” emblazoned across the brow. She faced left, instead of right, but still surrounded by 13 stars and featured the date below her.
The reverse also was changed completely. Instead of the Heraldic Eagle, the new American eagle design featured down-spread wings, a Union shield across her midsection, arrows and olive branches below and a banner above her with “E PLURIBUS UNUM” on it. The design encircled by “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” above and the denomination expressed as 5 C. at the bottom of the coin. These designs are actually updated versions of John Reich’s Capped Bust design on the 1807 Half Dollar.
Capped Bust Half Dimes Mintages
1829: 1,230,000 mintage.
1830: 1,240,000 mintage.
1831: 1,242,700 mintage.
1832: 965,000 mintage.
1833: 1,370,000 mintage.
1834: 1,480,000 mintage. Struck in two varieties, the original 1834 date and an inverted 3 overstrike.
After 1834, more varieties were struck. In 1835 a record 2,760,000 coins were struck, but they were spread among 4 distinct varieties – none of which are particularly more valuable than the other. The varieties are large date and 5C, large date and small 5C, small date and large 5C, and a small date and 5C. 1836 saw 1,900,000 struck and 3 varieties: a small 5C, large 5C and an inverted 3. The final year, 1837, saw 871,000 coins struck with both small and large 5C varieties.
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