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HomeUS CoinsLiberty Seated Dime, With Stars and Arrows (1853-1855) | CoinWeek

Liberty Seated Dime, With Stars and Arrows (1853-1855) | CoinWeek

1853 Liberty Seated Dime, With Arrows. Image: Stack's Bowers / CoinWeek.
1853 Liberty Seated Dime, With Arrows. Image: Stack’s Bowers / CoinWeek.

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

The Coinage Act of February 21, 1853 established a fiat coinage for this nation; that is, the value stamped on a coin was what the Federal Government said it was, not necessarily the value of the material from which it was made. Maintaining parity between the face value and the metal value of silver and gold coins had been a constant balancing act, and the discovery of immense quantities of gold in California in 1848 and subsequent years disrupted that balance. Gold became plentiful, but supplies of silver remained more or less constant, resulting in gold’s value declining relative to silver, which caused the price of silver to rise. With the face value of circulating silver coins less than the value of the silver they contained, silver coins disappeared from circulation in the early 1850s to be melted down into bullion.

The United States Congress was acutely aware of the problem and authorized a reduction in weight of the half dime, dime, quarter, and half dollar to address the situation (but not the dollar, which remained at the old bimetallic standard). To distinguish the dimes of the new tenor from the dimes of the previous weight, Chief Engraver James B. Longacre added arrowheads to each side of the date. These arrows appeared on Liberty Seated Dimes struck starting in 1853 and continuing through 1855; 1853-dated dimes were issued in both weights; the dimes struck before the passage of the Act do not have arrows.

United States Mint Director James Ross Snowden ordered the removal of the arrows from all subsidiary silver coin types in 1856, as he felt that the public had had plenty of time to adjust to the new weight standard.

All dimes produced from 1856 to the end of the type used the same design as the 1840 to 1853 pieces without arrows but at the lower weight as prescribed by the Coinage Act of February 21, 1853.

How Much Are Liberty Seated Dimes With Stars and Arrows Worth?

Over 4,000 circulation strike Liberty Seated Dimes With Stars and Arrows are listed in the CAC, NGC, and PCGS population reports. The scarcest of the type is the 1855, with fewer than 340 graded as of April 2024.

The Liberty Seated Dime With Stars and Arrows is not an expensive coin until you approach the Mint State level, at which point prices begin to exceed $1,000 USD per coin. The same holds true for the aforementioned 1855 – a potential sleeper coin. The 1853-O is the most costly issue of the type, with values over $7,000 in Choice Mint State increasing to nearly $25,000 or more at the top of the condition census.

Proof examples of the type are rare, with fewer than 25 certified pieces for each date. Some pieces are designated as Cameo. All Proof Liberty Seated Dimes With Stars and Arrows are rare and seldom appear at auction. When they do, winning bids typically exceed $30,000 for Gem examples.

Extended Coverage on CoinWeek

Greg Reynolds, rare coin expert and CoinWeek contributor, touches on the five-date set of With Stars and Arrows Liberty Seated Dimes in his Classic U.S. Coins for Less Than $500 Each series at the link above.



The obverse depicts a full-length representation of Liberty wearing a long, flowing gown and seated on a rock, her head turned back to her right. Her left arm is bent and holds a pole topped by a Liberty cap. The right arm extends down at her side, hand supporting a Union shield across which is a slightly curved banner displaying LIBERTY. The date is at the bottom, below the rock upon which Liberty rests, and is flanked on either side by a short arrow pointing away from the date. Inside denticles along the raised rim, 13 stars form a partial circle, seven to the left of Liberty, one between Liberty’s head and the Liberty cap, and five to the right.


The reverse features a concentric circle formed by UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, broken at the bottom by the ribbon that ties the ends of two branches. The branches form another circle inside the text, though the ends are slightly separated at the top, and in the center is the denomination ONE DIME, each word on a separate line. A circle of denticles is placed to the inside of the raised rim.

Arrows at Date dimes were produced at Philadelphia (all three years) and New Orleans (1853 and 1854); the O mintmark is located below the word DIME and above the bow at the top of the ribbon.

Coin Specifications

Liberty Seated Dime, Stars and Arrows
Years Of Issue: 1853-55
Mintage (Circulation): High: 12,078,010 (1853); Low: 1,100,000 (1853-O)
Mintage (Proof): High: 30 (1855, estimated); Low: 10 (1853, est.)
Alloy: 90% silver and 10% copper
Weight: 2.49 g
Diameter: 17.90 mm
Edge: Reeded
OBV Designer: James B. Longacre | engraved by Anthony C. Paquet (cereal wreath) after Robert Ball Hughes/Christian Gobrecht, from a Titian Peale/Thomas Sully design
REV Designer: James B. Longacre | engraved by Anthony C. Paquet (cereal wreath) after Robert Ball Hughes/Christian Gobrecht, from a Titian Peale/Thomas Sully design


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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.

Greer, Brian. The Complete Guide to Liberty Seated Dimes. DLRC Press.

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

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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  1. I have an 1853 half dime and I would like to know the value, it has the arrows and the broken laurel leaf on the back. I hope that you can help me or direct me to the correct web-site

    Sandra Maranzanan

  2. as to a reply for sandra rhis half dime you have you must pay to get it graded you will be very happy on the outcome after it is graded then you are looking in upwards of thousands so hopfully you still have it and can to aford to have it graded it will be a great return


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