In 1838, a slave named Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey escaped his captors in Maryland and fled to New England. As a free man, Bailey changed his name to Frederick Douglass, traveled to England and Ireland, then returned to the US to become one of the most outspoken critics of the institution of slavery. This 1838 dime marks the freedom gained by one of the larger figures in American history.
Closely following the development of the Seated design in the Half Dime series, the Dime also introduced 13 stars around the obverse border in 1838. The new Stars Obverse motif was initially limited to use in the Philadelphia Mint, but the New Orleans Mint also adopted this design beginning in 1839. This type is often described as "No Drapery" to distinguish it from the Hughes-modified Seated Dime introduced during 1840.