rare coin collection

Trying to take on a rare coin collection? Start with the Half Dime

Collecting coins is a hobby enjoyed by many people. The reasons for collecting coins vary from person to person – from the economic benefits to the thrill of the hunt, and also to learning about history and current events.

The 1794 flowing hair half dime was struck by the US Mint from 1794-1795 and designed by US Mint Chief Engraver Robert Scot. It is a rare silver coin with a reeded edge. The obverse has the inscription LIBERTY and the date at the bottom, 1794. There is an image of a feminine figure with her hair in the wind. The reverse side has an eagle surrounded by THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and the denomination HALF DIME. The 1794 flowing hair half dime was the first in the denomination of half dime in the US Mint.

The design was borrowed from the half dimes and half dollars made in France. These coins were circulated through the newly founded United States of America between 1794 and 1805. The 1794 flowing hair half dime was minted with a 95% silver composition and has a net weight of .3617 Oz pure silver. Half dime has different features that make it a distinctly different coin and worth collecting.

1. It Features an Interesting Design

The design was one of the first times that any form of numerals was used on American coinage. It also featured the first appearance of stars on a coin, which has been a regular feature on our coins ever since. The eagle was the very first use of a bald eagle as it appears on our arms today.

2. Very Historical

The coin weighs 6.74 grams, making it one of the heaviest coins ever produced. This is because it was designed with merchant trade in mind, rather than coin collecting, and so it was minted as the densest coin possible so that it could be carried in great amounts without weighing down the pants of merchants. This is why it was one of the first coins to feature a holed edge, which allowed the newly formed banks to more easily transport coins between themselves without needing bags of individual coins. Therefore, it is very scarce to find an example without a hole, but on the other hand, it is easy to restore.

3. Scarce

The coin was minted in extremely limited quantities and has been very seldom struck since the 19th century. This makes it very difficult to find examples, and as a result, they are also expensive, with common dates starting at around $300.

4. Unique

The half dime was the only small silver issue that the US Mint ever issued. The coin was struck in massive quantities from its inception, and continued to be struck for over 75 years – at only one Mint. Therefore, the coin is scarce to find in high grades, but it is not wildly expensive and offers a very reasonable entry price into collecting coins of this stature.

5. Collectible

The coin was widely used in commerce, which means that it saw handling by the public daily. The coin was used to purchase pretty much anything, from snacks at the store to postage stamps. This means that it is common to find examples in circulated grades. When they are offered, you can find pieces with full strikes available at low prices – which is a great advantage when you are collecting rare coins.

 6. Highly Versatile

The coin has several designs which span the entire period of issuance. There are exceptions, such as the 1837-O and 1863-S, but these are very scarce and can be collected in their own right. This means that there is something for every budget collector, the coin was struck in high relief which means that it is very collectible in the higher grades, yet makes for a great type of coin in lower grades.


The modern half dime is still being struck today, but the original example that was struck in 1794 is much more scarce and valuable. For this reason, it is recommended that you begin your Half Dime collection with an example from the early days. It is a great coin to use as a starting point when exploring rare coins because of its numerous features above.

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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