Flowing Hair Half Dime: 1794-1795


Quick Coinage Facts

Years Minted: 1794-1795
Mints: Philadelphia
Composition: 0.8924 silver, 0.1076 copper
Diameter: 16.5 mm
Weight: 1.35 grams
Total Mintage: approx. 86,416
Edge: reeded


A young United States wanted to prove to the world that they were a legitimate state and one method was through the display of a strong economy. Promoting business and trade was high on Congress' agenda, and establishing a sovereign coinage system was one of its earliest acts. Producing silver coinage was a sign of financial strength and one example from this time period was the Flowing Hair half dime (or disme as it was called during the 18th century). The half disme was the mint's smallest denomination silver coin and part of a decimal coinage system established by the Coinage Act of April 2, 1792.

Designed by Robert Scot, the half disme had a composition of 89.24% silver and 10.76% copper.
The obverse design depicts an idealized head of Liberty facing right and the inscription LIBERTY appearing above the bust surrounded by 15 stars. The 15 stars were representative of the number of states in the Union during that time.

The reverse design features a delicate or "small" eagle perched on a cloud, within an open wreath and has the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Typically, U.S. coins feature some type of denomination notation but there are none on this coin indicating it's value of 5 cents.

There are no mint marks as the Philadelphia mint was the only mint during that time period so there were was no need.


General Market Notes

Few coins have survived over the years and have thus created a rarity among collectors today. It is highly recommended NOT to purchase a raw specimen but a certified coin as there are quite a few counterfeits produced over the years.

Even if you have the money for even a low grade (AG or G) specimen, finding one available for sale is another story. Collectors may never see one in their lifetime and may have a permanent hole in their type set. One avenue a collector can pursue is to obtain a replica coin.

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