- Obsolete Coins
The half dime was a silver coin, valued at five cents, formerly minted in the United States.
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The denomination was one of the original coins first authorized in 1792, and production began the following year. These coins were much smaller than dimes, in diameter and thickness, appearing to be "half dimes".
In the 1860s, powerful nickel interests successfully lobbied for the creation of new coins, which would be made of a copper-nickel alloy; production of such coins began in 1865 and were struck in two denominations — three and five cents (the latter debuting in 1866).
The introduction of the copper-nickel five-cent pieces rendered the silver coins of the same denomination redundant, and they were discontinued in 1873.
The 1870-S Seated Liberty half dime, known from a single example, is one of the great mysteries of U.S. coinage. Six pair of obverse and reverse dies were shipped to the San Francisco Mint, according to Mint records, however this single coin is known today.
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