The History of the Roosevelt Dime
The Roosevelt silver dime was first struck by the United States Mint in 1946, just one year after President Roosevelt’s death following a decades-long battle with polio. During his struggle, Roosevelt had founded the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, a nonprofit dedicated to fundraising for polio research and treatment. This organization was later renamed to “March of Dimes.” With such an obvious connection to the coin, the Mint decided to replace the Mercury dime with a dime honoring Roosevelt’s legacy.
The Roosevelt dime was the fourth circulating denomination of coin to change its obverse design from a depiction of Lady Liberty following the cent in 1909, the quarter in 1932, and the nickel in 1938.
Designs for the new Roosevelt silver dime were done by Chief Engraver John R. Sinnock. He added his initials “JS” on the obverse of the coin, which created a controversy because the public thought the “JS” was a reference to Joseph Stalin. The Mint issued an official notice that these initials were not, in fact, a secret homage to the Soviet leader.
Throughout its production, there have been only a handful of circulated coin design changes. The coin was struck in 90% silver until 1964, after which it was produced with copper-nickel alloy and a copper core from 1965 onward. Also, the dime faced issues with deterioration near its rims throughout its production. To minimize this, Roosevelt’s head was made smaller and the text moved slightly inward in 2000.
Circulation & Interesting Facts
This iconic dime remains in circulation today. Since 1992, proof coins have been produced in both silver and clad. They’re sold by the Mint in proof sets for collectors.
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What are key dates for Roosevelt dimes?
Over this coin’s 70 years of circulation, many valuable varieties and key dates have come about. Key dates for low-mintage dimes include the 1949-S, the 1955, the 1955-D, and the 1955-S. The 1964-D double die reverse and the 1982-P with no mint mark are also sought-after and valuable varieties.
Are any dimes valuable?
The most valuable Roosevelt dimes for sale include the 1982 and the 1965, but these are difficult to find. Collectors should watch out for rare but reasonably priced Roosevelts like the 1965 90% silver transitional error, the 1982 no-mint mark dime, and the 1996-W.
What years were Roosevelt silver dimes minted?
Roosevelt dimes composed of 90% silver and 10% copper were minted from 1946 until 1964. The composition was changed to 75% copper and 25% nickel clad over a copper core in 1965.