Early Dimes (1796-1837)
Draped Bust Dimes of 1796-1807 were never coined in large numbers, the 1804 issue being particularly scarce. Learn More...
Early Dimes (1796-1837)
Draped Bust Dimes of 1796-1807 were never coined in large numbers, the 1804 issue being particularly scarce. The only dates seen with any frequency are 1805 and 1807, and these are notorious for weak strikes and overworked dies. Still, every date from 1796 to 1807 is represented, with the exception of 1799 and 1806, and this series does have a small but dedicated following. All issues are scarce but collectable by date. Mint state specimens are very rare for all dates except 1796, 1805 and 1807, and the vast majority of surviving examples are heavily worn.
There are not many collectors of these coins by varieties, though the more obvious and popular ones appear in Yeoman's Guide Book (the Red Book) and other catalogs. The scarce and rare varieties do command attention from knowledgeable specialists, but typically they are overlooked by the hobby as a whole.
The Capped Bust series of 1809-37 is challenging to collect by date, the 1822 issue being the key to its completion. Still, the set can be assembled with patience, and there exists a modest market for these coins by date.
In keeping with the general disregard for lower-valued coins by those depositing silver at the Mint, the production of dimes was fairly small in all but a few years until the 1830s. Dimes of the older style are scarce in mint state, the issues of 1814, 1820, 1821 and 1827 appearing most often. The modified type of 1828-37 is usually available in mint state for every date but 1828 (Small Date), which is scarce.
This series has a high percentage of variety collectors relative to the number of persons seeking them by date alone, and the quality of the John Reich Collectors Society book is at least partly responsible for this. Scarce and rare varieties are worthy of attribution. A few varieties are listed in the Red Book, the most highly sought being the 1829 dime with a curled-base numeral 2 in its date (JR-10).
NGC will assign John Reich Collectors Society (JR) numbers to all dimes 1796-1837. The JR numbering system begins anew with each date, so the first variety of any date is listed as JR-1. Subsequent varieties within each date are numbered JR-2, JR-3, etc. The table below lists John Reich varieties by their relative rarity.
- Davis, David J; Russell J. Logan; Allen F. Lovejoy; John W. McCloskey; and William J. Subjack. Early United States Dimes 1796-1837. Ypsilanti, MI: John Reich Collectors Society, 1984.