The first United States ten cent piece was the Draped Bust dime. Designed by Gilbert Stuart, this coin began its life in 1796.

The design of the obverse is nearly identical to the obverse design of the Draped Bust Half Dime, which was also designed by Stuart. The obverse displays Lady Liberty facing right with her hair flowing behind her. The word "LIBERTY" is at the top, and the year at the bottom. Fifteen stars are also displayed on the obverse - seven on the right, eight on the left.

The reverse of the coin portrays a small eagle with wings outstretched, standing on a cloud. The eagle and cloud are surrounded by palm and olive branches. "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" circles nearly the entire image.

This first design was minted for two years. In 1798, the reverse was revamped, and like the obverse, it very closely mirrored the design of the Half Dime. In front of the eagle is the traditional Union shield, and in the eagle's beak is a ribbon with the phrase "E PLURIBUS UNUM". The eagle's claws hold thirteen arrows on the left, and an olive branch on the right. Thirteen stars are shown just above the eagle, with an arc of clouds above them. "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" rounds almost the entire reverse side.

The draped bust dime was minted until 1807, when it was replaced with the Capped Bust Dime.

United States Coinage

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