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Capped Bust Dime, Large Size (1809-1828) | CoinWeek

1809 Capped Bust Dime, Large Size. Image: Stack's Bowers / CoinWeek.
1809 Capped Bust Dime, Large Size. Image: Stack’s Bowers / CoinWeek.

By Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker for CoinWeek Notes …..

Before being introduced on the dime, John Reich’s Capped Bust Liberty design was used to refresh the designs of United States half dollars, half eagles, quarter eagles, quarter dollars, and half dimes.

Small quantities of dimes were produced from 1809 through 1828, as Mexican and Spanish coins like the silver real, equivalent to 12.5¢, were legal tender and commonly found in circulation, and bullion depositors often didn’t see the need to order ten-cent silver coins.

Federal dimes released into circulation appear to have been well used, but only in 1821 and 1827 did production exceed one million coins; none were minted in 1810, 1812, 1813, 1815 through 1819, and 1826.

Dimes of this period were struck with screw presses using an open collar. The reading was likely impressed with a Castaing machine. The stars and dates of Large Size dimes were hand-punched on the dies, and the coins were produced without a collar to restrain outward expansion during striking. Though larger than the subsequent Small Size Capped Bust Dimes, which were struck with more advanced technology, the Capped Bust Liberty Dimes struck from 1809 to 1828 were of varying size and have been found to have diameters ranging from 18.8 mm to 19 mm.

John Reich, Capped Bust Dime Designer

Born in Bavaria, John Reich came to the United States as an indentured laborer. An unidentified Mint officer purchased his freedom, though it was not until 1807 that Mint Director Robert Patterson offered Reich a permanent position as Second Engraver. Some believe this delay in formally recognizing Reich’s talents was due in part to preceding Mint Director Elias Boudinot’s reluctance to offend the aging Chief Engraver Robert Scot (Scot was to die in 1823).

Reich worked from 1807 through 1817 and began working on Capped Bust coins immediately after being hired. Some attribute his relatively short tenure to the political situation in which he found himself: he was doing the work of the Chief Engraver but did not receive the credit or the compensation of that superior position, nor did he get a raise after 10 years of service. After leaving the Mint, Reich retired to Albany, New York, where he passed away in 1833.

How Much Is the Capped Bust, Large Size Dime Worth?

More than 8,000 business strike Capped Bust Large Size Dimes have been certified by CAC, NGC, and PCGS, including a few Prooflike pieces. For type coins, prices are moderate for coins at grades up to Choice Uncirculated but become expensive in grades approaching Gem or better.

The key to the series, the 1822 Capped Bust Dime, is expensive in all grades. Other issues that command higher prices are the 1809, the 1811/9, and the 1814 STATESOFAMERICA, with prices increasing dramatically in grades MS63 or finer.

Very few Proof coins from this series were struck, and nearly all known examples have been certified, including at least one with the Cameo designation. These pieces are pursued by advanced specialists and are very expensive.


Several varieties are known, including 1811/9 (all 1811 examples); 1814 and 1821 Small Date and Large Date; 1814 and 1820 STATESOFAMERICA (no spaces between the words); 1823/2 (all 1823 examples) and Small E and Large E; 1824/2 (all 1824 examples); 1828 Large Date, Curl Base 2; and other, more minor die variations.

Extended Coverage on CoinWeek

CoinWeek contributor Greg Reynolds has written on most classic U.S. coins and examined many of the Great Rarities in hand. Below are three articles he wrote concerning the Large Size Capped Bust Dime.

Here, Greg continues his tour de force series on the coins of the Pogue Family Collection with a discussion of the Capped Bust Dimes for sale.

In this article, Greg focuses on the key date 1809 Capped Bust Dime.

And here, emphasis is placed on 1822 and the dimes of that year.



The obverse features a matronly portrait of Liberty, facing left and wearing a mobcap bound at the base with a ribbon. The ribbon displays LIBERTY and is tied at the back. Liberty has long curling hair that peeks from under the cap at the front and sides and cascades down the back. A loosely draped garment lies across the bust and shoulder, secured with a small clasp above the shoulder. Thirteen six-point stars are to the sides of Liberty, seven to the left, and six to the right, and the stars form a circle inside a broadly dentilled rim. The date is at the bottom.


The reverse shows a centered left-facing eagle, with extended but partly folded wings. The eagle clutches an olive branch in the right claw and three arrows in the left. A shield is placed over the chest. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA forms a concentric arc to the inside of the top two-thirds of the denticled rim, with the denomination of 10 C. at the bottom visually completing the circle. A simply curved banner, folded ends to the back, displays E PLURIBUS UNUM. All coins were minted in Philadelphia and display no mintmark.


The edge of the Capped Bust Dime is reeded.

Coin Specifications

Capped Bust Dimes, Large Size
Years Of Issue: 1809-28
Mintage (Circulation): High: 1,215,000 (1827); Low 51,065 (1809)
Mintage (Proof): High: 10 estimated (1827-1828, estimated); Low: 5 estimated (1820-1825). Some consider these “Proof” coins to be presentation pieces.
Alloy: 89.24% silver and 10.76% copper
Weight: 2.7 g
Diameter: 18.8 mm
Edge: Reeded
OBV Designer: John Reich
REV Designer: John Reich


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Bowers, Q. David. The Experts Guide to Collecting & Investing in Rare Coins. Whitman Publishing.

–. A Guide Book of United States Type Coins. Whitman Publishing.

Breen, Walter. Walter Breen’s Encyclopedia of U.S. Coins. Doubleday.

Guth, Ron, and Jeff Garrett. United States Coinage: A Study by Type. Whitman Publishing.

Logan, Russell, and John McCloskey, et al. Early United States Dimes, 1796-1837. John Reich Collectors Society.

Taxay, Don. The U.S. Mint and Coinage. Arco Publishing.

Yeoman, R.S and Kenneth Bressett (editor). The Official Red Book: A Guide Book of United States Coins. Whitman Publishing.

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CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes presents expert analysis and insights from Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker, the award-winning editors of CoinWeek.com.

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