Composition and Specifications

The specifications for the Capped Bust Half Dimes were somewhat different compared to earlier half dimes. When the new series was introduced in 1829, the diameter was 15.5 mm, compared to the previous standard of 16.5 mm. The initial composition was 89.24% silver and 10.76% copper with a weight of 1.35 grams. In 1837, this would be modified to 90% silver and 10% copper, with a slightly reduced weight of 1.34 grams. All coins were struck with a reeded edge.

The production for the entire series took place at the second Philadelphia Mint with improved technology. The coining press used a “close collar,” which would strike all three surfaces of the coin (obverse, reverse, and edge) at the same time. Previously, the reeding or lettering on the edge had been applied in a separate procedure. The close collar served to standardize the diameter of coins and allow metal to flow into the deepest areas of the die, improving strike quality.

The higher mintage levels and advancements in technology result in more higher grade, attractive examples being available when compared to the earlier half dimes. However, over the years some pieces (even or especially so in high grade) may have been cleaned, damaged or otherwise impaired. Coins which exhibit original and appealing coloration command a premium.

Uncirculated examples are available for all dates, giving type set collectors the opportunity to acquire a nice specimen for a relatively little amount of money.