Designer: Christian Gobrecht. Weight: 1.34
grams. Composition: .900 silver, .100 copper. Approx diameter:
15.5mm. Reeded edge. Mints: Philadelphia, New Orleans.
Designed by Christian Gobrecht, the half dime depicts Liberty
seated looking over her shoulder to the left. She balances
the Union Shield inscribed LIBERTY with her right hand and
holds a staff on which is placed a Phrygian cap in her left.
There are seven stars to the left and six to the right interrupted
by her head and the capped pole. The dated is below. The
reverse shows the denomination written in two words surrounded
by an open laurel wreath. The inscription UNITED STATES
OF AMERICA is at the edge. Dentils are around the periphery
of both sides of the coin.
The half dime was a silver coin minted in
the United States that was valued at five cents. It was
the first coin minted by the United States Mint under the
Coinage Act of 1792 when the half “disme” was produced.
They were produced until 1873, when they were displaced
by the copper-nickel five cent coin that was first issued
in 1865. The Liberty Seated half dime was the last type
made. Other types included the 1792 Half Disme, the 1794-1795
Flowing Hair half dime, the 1796-1797 Draped Bust, Small
Eagle, the 1800-05 Heraldic Eagle, and the Capped Bust of
1829-1837. In addition, the Seated Liberty, 1837-1873 had
In 1826 Gobrecht did his first work for
the Mint as an assistant to William Kneass. After Kneass’
debilitating stroke, Gobrecht did all the die and pattern
work for the Mint. He became Chief Engraver in 1840 and
served until his death in 1844. He was famous for his Liberty
Seated motif which was used for all denominations of sliver
coinage including the half dime, dime, quarter dollar, half
dollar and sliver dollar. He also designed the Liberty Head
gold eagle, a motif that was also used on the half-cent,
the cent, the gold quarter eagle, and the gold half eagle.