Description and Analysis

Early Dimes
1796 10C MS

Description & Analysis

Dimes were not coined before retirement of the Flowing Hair Liberty, so the first examples bore the Draped Bust/Small Eagle design which had debuted on the dollar in 1795.

The first delivery of dimes was made on January 18, 1796. Six obverse dies were paired with five reverses for a total of seven die marriages, and these are attributed by John Reich numbers. None of the varieties are truly common, but the most often seen include JR-1, -2, -4 and -6. Varieties JR-3, -5 and -7 are rare, the last having been discovered subsequent to publication of the JR book.

By far the most often seen variety in or near Mint State is JR-1, which is always found with a prominent die break left of the date. This is presumed to have been the first die pair used, and it was only natural for interested persons to set aside a few examples as novelties. These survive to the delight of advanced collectors.