Half Dime Coin Values, Facts & Tips For Collecting Half-Dimes From 1794 To 1873 (Similar To Nickels, Both Are 5-Cent Coins)



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U.S. nickels and half dimes… they may sound like different coins, but they’re both the same as far as the United States Mint is concerned.

They’re both 5-cent coins.

Half dimes and nickels saw many designs over the course of their decades of service.

Here’s a little about the similarities and differences between a U.S. half dime and a U.S. nickel…

 

Facts About The U.S. Half Dime Coin

The half dime was the U.S. Mint’s answer to the need for a 5-cent coin during the 19th century.

The half dime coin:

  • Was first struck in 1794
  • Was made from silver (about 90% of the weight is silver)
  • Weighed half the amount of dimes back in the day
  • Was last struck in 1873 (7 years after the U.S. Mint had begun making another 5-cent coin)

The half dime saw 4 major design types (with many varieties and minor modifications to each of those designs):

  1. Flowing Hair Half Dime 1794-1795
  2. Draped Bust Half Dime 1796-1805
  3. Capped Bust Half Dime 1829-1837
  4. Seated Liberty Half Dime 1837-1873

 

Facts About The U.S. Nickel 5-Cent Coin

The nickel 5-cent coin:

  • Was first struck in 1866
  • Contains a 75% copper 25% nickel composition

The U.S. nickel has also seen many design changes during its long run, including these 4 major design types:

 

Half Dime Value By Type

Wonder how much an old half dime is worth? You’re not alone. Many collectors want to know the values of their half dimes.

Below is a list of half dime values from 1794 through 1873.

 

Flowing Hair Half Dime Coin Values

  • 1794 — $1,200+
  • 1795 — $1,100+

 

Draped Bust Half Dime Coin Values

  • 1796 6 Over 5 — $1,100+
  • 1796 — $1,450+
  • 1796 LIKERTY — $1,100+
  • 1797 15 Stars — $1,100+
  • 1797 16 Stars — $1,100+
  • 1797 13 Stars — $1,750+
  • 1800 — $875+
  • 1800 LIKERTY — $1,000+
  • 1801 — $1,100+
  • 1802 — $1,100+
  • 1803 Large 8 — $850+
  • 1803 Small 8 — $850+
  • 1805 — $850+

 

Capped Bust Half Dime Coin Values

  • 1829 — $45+
  • 1830 — $40+
  • 1831 — $40+
  • 1832 — $40+
  • 1833 — $40+
  • 1834 — $40+
  • 1835 — $40+
  • 1836 — $40+
  • 1836 3 Over Inverted 3 — $45
  • 1837 Small 5 C — $50+
  • 1837 Large 5 C — $45+

 

Seated Liberty Half Dime Coin Values

Variety 1

  • 1837 Small Date — $30+
  • 1837 Large Date — $30+
  • 1838-O No Stars — $125+

Variety 2

  • 1838 No Drapery, Large Stars — $15+
  • 1838 No Drapery, Small Stars — $18+
  • 1839 No Drapery — $17+
  • 1839-O No Drapery — $17+
  • 1840 No Drapery — $17+
  • 1840-O Drapery — $32+
  • 1840 Drapery — $28+
  • 1840-O Drapery — $38+
  • 1841 — $13+
  • 1841-O — $50+
  • 1842 — $13+
  • 1842-O — $47+
  • 1843 — $18+
  • 1844 — $17+
  • 1844-O — $75+
  • 1845 — $13+
  • 1846 — $800+
  • 1847 — $17+
  • 1848 Medium Date — $13+
  • 1848 Large Date — $28+
  • 1848-O — $18+
  • 1849 — $20+
  • 1850 — $18+
  • 1850-O — $25+
  • 1851 — $14+
  • 1851-O — $21+
  • 1852 — $14+
  • 1852-O — $26+
  • 1853 No Arrows — $50+
  • 1853-O No Arrows — $310+

Variety 3

  • 1853 — $17+
  • 1853-O — $20+
  • 1854 — $17+
  • 1854-O — 17+
  • 1855 — $17+
  • 1855-O — $17+

Variety 2 Resumed, 1.34 Grams 

  • 1856 — $14+
  • 1856-O — $14+
  • 1857 — $14+
  • 1857-O — $14+
  • 1858 — $14+
  • 1858-O — $14+
  • 1859 — $14+
  • 1859-O — $20+

Variety 4

  • 1860 Legend — $12+
  • 1860-O — $17+
  • 1861 — $17+
  • 1862 — $20+
  • 1863 — $185+
  • 1863-S — $40+
  • 1864 — $310+
  • 1864-S — $58+
  • 1865 — $375+
  • 1865-S — $45+
  • 1866 — $315+
  • 1866-S — $38+
  • 1867 — $425+
  • 1867-S — $25+
  • 1868 — $48+
  • 1868-S — $12+
  • 1869 — $25+
  • 1869-S — $25+
  • 1870 — $12+
  • 1870-S — $1.5 Million+ (Unique Rarity)
  • 1871 — $12+
  • 1871-S — $14+
  • 1872 — $12+
  • 1872-S — $15+
  • 1873 — $12+
  • 1873-S — $12+

*Values are for problem-free coins with no dents, holes, bends, deep scratches, artificial color, or signs of cleaning. Coins in grades lower than Good-4 or with signs of damage are worth less. Only some of the most important varieties are listed above.

 

Tips For Collecting Half Dimes

Half dimes can be challenging to collect, but they aren’t impossible — especially if you know the ins & outs of assembling a half dime collection.

Generally speaking, there are a few different ways to collect half dimes:

  • Collect half dimes by type  which means to collect a set of half dimes that includes the Flowing Hair, Draped Bust, Capped Bust, and Liberty Seated designs.
  • Collect half dimes by date and mintmark — which is by far one of the most expensive and difficult ways to collect the half dime coin.
  • Collect Liberty Seated half dimes by variety — which entails collecting one example of each of the 5 major varieties.
  • Collect proof half dimes — which generally cost about $300 and up apiece.

Here are more tips for collecting Early American coins from the 1700s and 1800s.

 

Before You Buy Half Dimes…

While it can save money to buy off-quality coins, the best strategy for buying half dimes is to purchase the best pieces that fit within your budget.

This can improve the odds that your half dimes will increase in value — because better-quality coins almost always perform better over the long term than poor-quality coins.

It also pays to do some deeper research on which pieces are the scarcest — because some legitimately rare half dimes are actually quite affordable. This is in part because the demand for certain dates is much lower than more popular “rare” coins, such as the 1909-S VDB penny.

  • Case in point: the 1868 Liberty Seated half dime. Only 88,600 were made and perhaps only 400 survive, yet one can be bought for far less than $100 in circulated condition.
  • Compare that to: the 1909-S VDB penny. A total of 484,000 were made, and perhaps 20,000 or more exist, yet they cost at least $500 in a grade of Good-4.

In other words, if you know what you’re buying, you may score some really rare old coins for a fraction of the price of the rare coins you’ve probably already heard a lot about.

There are some ways to save money when buying half dimes:

  • Buy damaged half dimes. While damaged coins or cull coins may be of subpar quality (cleaned, holes, etc.), they can help you fill holes in your coin albums at much lower prices than buying problem-free specimens.
  • Buy half dimes in bulk. Some coin dealers offer half dimes and other 19th-century coins in large lots of a few, dozens, or even hundreds of coins — which saves you the cost of buying coins individually.
  • Buy half dimes from auctions. When buying coins at a coin auction, you are likely to save money if few other people are bidding on the same coins.

 

More Info About Half Dimes

In addition to the links I’ve included above, here are some other resources to help you learn more about U.S. half dime coins:

Joshua

I'm the Coin Editor here at TheFunTimesGuide. My love for coins began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the 20th century. I'm a member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) and have won multiple awards from the NLG for my work as a coin journalist. I'm also the editor at the Florida United Numismatists Club (FUN Topics magazine), and author of Images of America: The United States Mint in Philadelphia (a book that explores the colorful history of the Philadelphia Mint). I've contributed hundreds of articles for various coin publications including COINage, The Numismatist, Numismatic News, Coin Dealer Newsletter, Coin Values, and CoinWeek. I've authored nearly 1,000 articles here at The Fun Times Guide to Coins (many of them with over 50K shares), and I welcome your coin questions in the comments below!

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