Before the nickel five cent coin's introduction in 1866, the five-cent denomination was known as the half dime. The half dime was one of the original denominations introduced when the U.S. coinage system began in 1792. There are two distinct types: Early Half Dimes and Liberty Seated Half Dimes.
Early Half DimesEarly Half Dimes
comprise Flowing Hair, Draped Bust and Capped Bust types. The Flowing Hair type was designed by Robert Scot who did much of our early coinage. This type was minted for only two years; 1794 and 1795. It was replaced by the Draped Bust type, which was minted from 1796 until 1805. These were also designed by Scot. After a run of 24 years in which no half dimes were produced, the Mint once again decided to produce them in 1829. The Capped Bust variety was designed by William Kneass.
Liberty Seated Half Dimes
Later in 1837, Designer Christian Gobrecht, who would later become famous for his "Gobrecht Dollars" designed the Liberty Seated Half Dime which ran from 1837 until the half dime's demise in 1873. There are numerous varieties of half dimes such as: No Stars, Stars, Arrows at Date and Legend on Obverse.