first known proposal for a decimal-based coinage system in
the United States was made in 1783 by Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin
Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, and David Rittenhouse. Hamilton,
the nation's first Secretary of the Treasury, recommended
the issuance of six such coins in 1791, in a report to Congress.
Among the six was a silver coin, "which shall be, in
weight and value, one tenth part of a silver unit or dollar".
From 1796 to 1837, dimes were composed of 89.24 percent silver
and 10.76 percent copper,. the value of which required the
coins to be very small to prevent their intrinsic value being
worth more than face value. The composition was altered slightly
in 1837 with the introduction of the Seated Liberty dime;
the silver content was increased to 90 percent, while the
copper content was reduced to 10 percent. To maintain the
intrinsic value of the new dime, its diameter was reduced
from 18.8 millimeters (0.740 inch) to its current figure of
17.9 millimeters (0.705 inch).
With the passage of the Coinage Act of 1965, the dime's silver
content was removed. Dimes from 1965 to the present are composed
of 75 percent copper and 25 percent nickel. Starting in 1992,
the U.S. Mint began issuing Silver Proof Sets annually, which
contain dimes composed of the pre-1965 standard of 90 percent
silver and 10 percent copper. These sets are intended solely
for collectors, and are not meant for general circulation.
Since its introduction in 1796, the dime has been issued in
six different major types, excluding the 1792 "disme".
The name for each type indicates the design on the coin's
obverse, the Barber dime excepted.
Dimes Draped Bust, Small Eagle Reverse (All are rare) 1796-1797
Bust Dimes Draped Bust, Heraldic Eagle Reverse
(All are rare) 1798-1807 $125.00-$1,000.00
Bust Dimes Capped Bust (Rare date: 1822) 1809-1837 $8.00-$75.00
Seated Dimes (Rare dates: 1844, 1860-O, 1863, 1864, 1865,
1866, 1867, 1870-S, 1871-CC, 1872-CC, 1873-CC, 1874-CC,
1879-1881, 1885-S; Many scarce dates) 1837-1891 $4.00-$15.00
Dimes (Rare dates: 1894-S, 1895-O; Scarce dates: 1892-S,
1893-O, 1894-O, 1895, 1895-S, 1896-O, 1896-S, 1897-O, 1901-S,
1903-S, 1904-S, 1913-S) 1892-1916 $2.00-$5.00 $60.00-$125.00
Dimes (Rare dates: 1916-D; Scarce dates: 1921, 1921-D, 1926-S,
1931-D,1931-S) 1916-1945 $1.50-$2.00 $4.00-$10.00
Dimes Silver (No rare dates) 1946-1964 $1.50-$2.00 $2.00-$5.00
Roosevelt Dimes Clad (No rare dates) 1965-Present Face Value
The Coinage Act of 1792, passed on April 2, 1792, authorized
the mintage of a "disme", one-tenth the silver weight
and value of a dollar. The composition of the disme was set
at 89.24 percent silver and 10.76 percent copper. In 1792,
a limited number of dismes were minted but never circulated.
Some of these were struck in copper, indicating that the 1792
dismes were in fact pattern coins. The first dimes minted
for circulation did not appear until 1796, due to a lack of
demand for the coin and production problems at the United
Continue -- United State Dimes