Denver Gold and Silver
5475 Leetsdale Dr Suite 210
Denver, Colorado 80246
Monday - Saturday 10 am to 5 pm
Sundays by Appointment Only
anytime - leave a message: Main Number: 303-333-1411
- Dime 10 Cents
Draped Bust (1796–1807)
1805 Draped Bust dime
The first dime to be circulated was the Draped Bust dime, in 1796. It
featured the same obverse and reverse as all other circulating coins
of the time, the so-called Draped Bust/Small Eagle design. This design
was the work of then-Chief Engraver Robert Scot. The portrait of
Liberty on the obverse was based on a Gilbert Stuart drawing of
prominent Philadelphia socialite Ann Willing Bingham, wife of noted
American statesman William Bingham. The reverse design is of a small
Bald Eagle surrounded by palm and olive branches, and perched on a
cloud. Since the Coinage Act of 1792 required only that the cent and
half cent display their denomination, Draped Bust dimes were minted
with no indication of their value.
All 1796 dimes have 15 stars on the obverse, representing the number
of U.S. states then in the Union. The first 1797 dimes were minted
with 16 stars, reflecting Tennessee's admission as the 16th state.
Realizing that the practice of adding one star per state could quickly
clutter the coin's design, U.S. Mint Director Elias Boudinot ordered a
design alteration, to feature just 13 stars (for the original
Thirteen Colonies). Therefore, 1797 dimes can be found with either
13 or 16 stars.
Also designed by Robert Scot, the Heraldic Eagle reverse design made
its debut in 1798. The obverse continued from the previous series,
but the eagle on the reverse was changed from the widely criticized
"scrawny" hatchling to a scaled-down version of the Great Seal of
the United States. The Draped Bust/Heraldic Eagles series continued
through 1807 (although no dimes dated 1799 or 1806 were minted).
Both Draped Bust designs were composed of 89.24 percent silver and
10.76 percent copper.