In 1837 the Capped Bust Dime was replaced by the Liberty Seated Dime. The Liberty Seated Dime features Mint Engraver Christian Gobrecht's image from the 1836 dollars depicting Liberty seated on a rock. In her right hand is a shield with LIBERTY written accross it. In her left, a staff with a Liberty cap. The date appears below her. On the reverse is the inscription 'ONE DIME' within a laurel wreath. The legend 'UNITED STATES OF AMERICA' is written around the wreath.
The Liberty Seated Dimes are broken into five distinct types:
Liberty Seated, No Stars (1837-1838)
The initial design (1837) had no stars on the obverse and the dates were minted in a Large Date and Small Date variety. These two types can be distinguished by noting the "3" and the "7" in the date. In the Large Date variety, the "3" has a pointed serif at top, and the horizontal element of the "7" is straight. In the Small Date variety, the "3" has a rounded serif, and there is small a knob, or bulge, in the "7" horizontal element.
Liberty Seated, Stars Obverse - No Drapery and With Drapery (1838-1853,1856-1860)
In 1838, 13 Stars were added to the obverse side of the design to commemorate each of the original 13 American colonies, creating the Liberty Seated, Stars Obverse, No Drapery subtype. Liberty Seated Dimes, Stars Obverse, No Drapery were produced from 1838 to 1840. In 1839, artist Robert Ball Hughes was hired by the Mint to modify the coin's design. Hughes reduced the size of the rock Liberty sits upon, stood her shield upright and added drapery over her left elbow. On the reverse, the lettering was enlarged. Liberty Seated, Stars Obverse, With Drapery Dimes were produced from 1840 to 1859, with gaps in production from 1853-1855.
Liberty Seated, Arrows at Date (1853-1855)
From 1853 to 1855 the dime's weight was reduced and arrowheads were added to the date to distinguish them from the previous Liberty Seated Dimes. The arrows were removed in 1856, though the weight was not changed, and the design returned to the Liberty Seated, Stars Obverse, With Drapery.
Liberty Seated, Legend on Obverse (1860-1873,1875-1891)
In 1860, the legend 'UNITED STATES OF AMERICA' was moved from the reverse to the obverse, replacing the 13 stars. The wreath on the reverse was enlarged and changed from a wreath of laurels to a wreath of corn, wheat, tobacco, oak and maple.
Liberty Seated, Arrows at Date (1873-1874)
In 1873, the Mint switched to the metric system for coin weights. The dime's weight was increased slightly, to an even 2.50 grams. Arrowheads were added to some of the 1873 dimes and all of the 1874 dimes to differentiate the heavier coins. The previous coins were systematically destroyed by the mint. In 1875, the mint stopped putting the arrows on the coins and the design returned to the Liberty Seated, Legend on Obverse design until the Liberty Seated dime was replaced by the barber dime in 1892.