1831 Capped Bust Dime – Proof 63 PF 63

It was March of 1807  before  the  fourth  Mint Director, Robert-Patterson, finally hired the German born John Reich as second engraver. At that time the dime was still unfamiliar to most Americans. The Act of April, 1792, creating the decimal dollar, made a key component “dismes or tenths . . . a disme being a tenth part of a dollar.” However, the quarter dollar fit more easily into popular usage, as it was equal to the Spanish two-reales coin, or “two bits.” This era was one favoring Rubenesque beauty, as a glance at chief engraver Robert Scot’s dowdy Draped Bust obverse will show. As she first appeared on the 1809 Capped Bust dime Reich’s Liberty was, if  anything, a trifle more streamlined than her predecessor. Fifty years later, U.S. Mint writer William Ewing DuBois would claim that the model for all these rather stout, ample-bosomed Liberties was a woman he called “Reich’s fat German mistress.” The reverse bore an American eagle with head turned left, holding three arrows symbolizing strength, and an olive branch representing peace. On its breast is the Union Shield composed of six horizontal lines indicating blue, with 13 stripes below, six of these made of three vertical lines each indicating red. Such lines were an 18th century engraver’s standardized method of showing colors in black-and-white engravings; blue representing dominion, red signifying force, with white denoting purity. Encircling the top of the eagle is the inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and a scroll with the incuse motto E PLURIBUS UNUM. Beneath the eagle is the denomination 10 C.


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