Liberty Seated Dime
The Liberty Seated Dime was designed by Christian Gobrecht, who was the Second Engraver at the US Mint. The series began in 1837, which was also the last year for Capped Bust Dime type. The Liberty Seated Dimes were struck until 1891 when the denomination was redesigned once again.
The design for the new dime was a duplicate to his new Half Dime and was simplicity in its presentation. The obverse of the coin had an allegorical representation of Miss Liberty, seated, facing left, holding a shield in one hand and a pole with a cap on the end of it in the other. The date was centered below Miss Liberty. The reverse had the denomination “ONE DIME” in two lines, enclosed inside a wreath with “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” around it.
These coins were considered the “Variety 1” Liberty Seated Dime, as the obverse did not have a circle of 13 stars above Liberty. These Variety I coins were only struck during 1837 and 1838. Later in the year 1838, a new variety added 13 stars in a semi-circle around Miss Liberty. These were called the “Variety 2” coins and were struck until 1853.
In 1853, the coin was modified again. Due to a spike in the price of silver, the weight of the coins was slightly reduced and to designate that a small arrow was placed on each side of the date on the obverse. This is the “Variety 3” variety, and they were struck until 1855. In 1856, the price of silver dropped, and the weight of the coins returned to the Variety 2 II weight once again, so the arrows were removed through the 1860 date.
In 1860 a “Variety 4” design was created by removing the 13 stars from above Miss Liberty and replacing them with “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.” This redesign was done by James B. Longacre and these coins were struck until 1873.
Later in 1873, a “Variety 5” coinage was created by placing arrows once again at the date. But this time, the weight was increased instead of decreased. Only some dimes dated 1873 and all dated 1874 will be Varity 5 coins. Beginning in 1875, the weight was reduced again to Variety 4 levels, where it remained until the series was completed in 1891.
Liberty Seated Dimes provide a multitude of collecting opportunities as some people collect every date and mintmark, some collect one of each of the 4 mints that struck all of these coins, and some collect just one of each variety. You can collect the interesting coins however you would enjoy them most.