The Coinage Act of 1792 authorized the production and face value of various early US denominations. The US dime was a 10-cent coin first issued in 1796 and is the smallest US coin in diameter and the thinnest US coin currently in production at the United States Mint. The dime denomination is referred to in the Coinage Act of 1792 by the Old French term disme, meaning tithe or tenth part. While the modern US dime is produced with a cupro-nickel alloy, the coins once featured 90% silver content for more than a century. Below you can learn all about the history of 90% Silver Dimes available at JM Bullion.
When the dime was first introduced in 1796, the coins actually had a similar silver content to those issued up until 1965. From 1796 to 1837, the US Mint produced the coins with 89.24% silver and 10.76% copper. This applied to the first two designs issued in the series: Draped Bust and Capped Bust. With the introduction of the Seated Liberty design in 1837, the US Mint raised the silver content to an even 90% silver with 10% copper. This remained the standard from 1837 to 1964. All of the dimes from 1837 to 1964 have .07234 Troy oz of actual silver content.
The first US dime design issued with 90% silver content was the Seated Liberty design created by Christian Gobrecht. This image was the same used on various other denominations of US currency during the 19th century, including half-dime, quarter, half dollar, and the silver dollar through its temporary halt in 1873. The Seated Liberty design was used from 1837 to 1891 and was the longest-used design until 2001 when the modern Roosevelt Dime design surpassed it in length. The designs on the coin include:
Varieties in the design of the Seated Liberty dimes occurred throughout its production history. The original issue of the coin had no stars around Liberty’s figure in 1837, with 13 stars representing the original colonies added around Liberty for the 1838 release. In the middle of 1860, the United States Mint swapped the inscription “United States of America” from the reverse to the obverse. The stars on the obverse were removed as a result and the wreath around the “One Dime” inscription on the reverse was fluffed up to take up the now-empty space.
The shortest-used design in the US dime series was the Barber Coinage image. This design was created in 1892 by Charles E. Barber, the 6th Chief Engraver of the United States Mint, and used from 1892 to 1916. The image of Liberty on the obverse of these coins was used across the US dime, quarter, and half-dollar denominations during this period. There were no variations to this design throughout its 24-year period of coining:
Used for 29 years, the Winged Liberty Dime was the last US dime to feature an effigy of Liberty on the obverse and is a coveted image among numismatists. Created in 1916 by Adolph A. Weinman and used on this denomination until 1945. The appearance of Liberty on the Winged Liberty Dime resulted in many Americans referring to the dime as the Mercury Dime instead:
The final US dime design to feature 90% silver content was the Roosevelt Dime. Still in production today at the United States Mint, the Roosevelt Dime was produced using 90% silver from 1946 when it was introduced into production and 1964, the final year in which American silver coins had 90% silver content. The bust of President Franklin D. Roosevelt was put on the US Dime in honor of his recent death in office and his staunch support for the March of Dimes, an initiative to find a cure for polio, a disease the president himself suffered from in his lifetime.
You will find 90% Silver Dimes of all designs regularly available from JM Bullion. Most are sold in bulk allotments. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact JM Bullion customer service. Our team is available at 800-276-6508, online through our live chat, and using our email address.