Skip to main content

‘Disme’ spelling changed to ‘dime’ in 1837

I know the disme and half disme started out with that spelling, but when was it changed to “dime?”

I know the disme and half disme started out with that spelling, but when was it changed to “dime?”


The patterns of 1792 were described with the disme spelling and the term was used in the Coinage Act of 1792, but somewhere on the way to the public the “S” got lost. However, “disme” was used in official Mint correspondence up until the 1830s. The word “DIME” didn’t appear on either coin until the 1837 issue, when the current spelling was
made official.

It’s my understanding that President Hayes didn’t want the Morgan dollar struck. Is that correct?

Hayes vetoed the bill ordering the striking of the coin in 1878, but Congress passed it over his veto and then rubbed it in by having the first coin struck presented to the unwilling president.

Why are the values for the 1982-P and 1983-P dimes so much higher than dates before and after?

Actually, if you check the other denominations of that era – especially the quarters – the same thing is happening. The reason is that most coin dealers, looking at monumental mintages, didn’t bother to save their usual bag or even roll quantities, so when demand caught up with the meager supply the prices shot up. There are also no mint sets from those two years, so the usual hobby back-up supply is absent.

Are all of the changes in our coinage documented in laws passed by Congress?

In the history of our coinage there are at least a couple of instances where changes were made by Presidential Proclamation, rather than by Congress. The first major change in the cent came about in that way when President Washington issued a proclamation on Jan. 26, 1796, retroactive to Dec. 27, 1795, to reduce the weight of the cent by 40 grains and the half cent by 20 grains.

Didn’t it used to be illegal to possess a picture of a coin?

Under no less an authority than the federal law of the United States, it was illegal to own a picture of a coin. This law was passed as an amendment to the 1909 Penal Code on Feb. 15, 1912. The exceptions included illustrated numismatic and historical books and journals, school arithmetic books and the circulars of legitimate publishers “and dealers in the same.”

Address questions to Coin Clinic, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. Because of space limitations, we are unable to publish all questions. Include a loose 42-cent stamp for reply. Write first for specific mailing instructions before submitting numismatic material. We cannot accept unsolicited items. E-mail inquiries should be sent to