If you’re seeking to add one of the first denominations of minted US coins to your collection, we have an impressive half dime coin selection online at The Happy Coin. These silver half dimes have been minted since the late 18th century and were dubbed half dimes because of their size – smaller in both thickness and diameter than normal US dimes. There are various types of half dimes that have been minted including the flowing hair half dime, draped bust half dime, capped bust half dime and various types of the seated liberty half dime. These half dimes are named as such from the designs on the coin face.
Introduced back in 1796, the US dime has undergone six various designs: Draped Bust, Capped Bust, Seated Liberty, Barber, Winged Liberty Head (also known as the Mercury) and the current Roosevelt dime. Of the six various dime coin designs, all but the Barber dime are named for the design on their obverse (front face of the coin).
The Barber dime was minted from 1892 through 1916, after the production of the Seated Liberty time and prior to the release of the Mercury dimes. During the 24 years of its production, the Barber dime shared its design with the US quarter of this time. The design shows the profile of Lady Liberty with “LIBERTY” inscribed on her headband; the reverse features a wreath and inscription similar to the Seated Liberty dime that reads “ONE DIME.”
The Winged Liberty Head Dime, or more commonly “Mercury dimes” were minted for 29 years, between 1916 and 1945. Like all US dimes, Mercury dimes feature Liberty on the obverse; however, her defining characteristic in this design is the wings of the Phrygian cap spread wide. The open wings coming from Lady Liberty’s head are meant to symbolize freedom of thought. On the reverse of the Mercury dime features the symbol of power and jurisdiction, a fasces right next to an olive branch, intended to show the U.S.’ preparedness for war. Mercury Dimes are an affordable and popular series to collect. The higher grade Mercury Dimes are most popular with the fully split bands on the Fasces. A Fasces is a bundle of wooden sticks with an axe blade emerging from the center, which is an image that commonly symbolizes summary power. Another interpretation of a Fasces is "Strength through Unity", which is our favorite interpretation, especially when blended with the freedom of thought the obverse is meant to convey.