Before the advent of nickels, US five cent pieces were known simply as half dimes, and the designs almost always mimicked the designs featured on regular 10 cent dimes. Half dimes were produced from 1794 until 1873, minus a halt from 1805 until 1829.

Half dime designs include the Flowing Hair Liberty (from 1794 to 1795), the Draped Bust Liberty (from 1796 to 1805), the Capped Bust Liberty (from 1829 to 1837), and the Seated Liberty (from 1837 to 1873). Like most coin designs, there were multiple variations of each.

Half dimes were so thin that they frequently bent or dented. Undamaged examples are rarer and therefore more in-demand among collectors.

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