Denver Gold and Silver
5475 Leetsdale Dr Suite 210
Denver, Colorado 80246
Monday - Saturday 10 am to 5 pm
Sundays by Appointment Only
anytime - leave a message: Main Number: 303-333-1411
- Dime 10 Cents
The plaque of Roosevelt at the Recorder of Deeds Building in
Soon after the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1945,
legislation was introduced by Virginia Congressman Ralph H. Daughton
that called for the replacement of the Mercury dime with one bearing
Roosevelt's image. The dime was chosen to honor Roosevelt partly
due to his efforts in the founding of the National Foundation for
Infantile Paralysis (later renamed the March of Dimes), which
originally raised money for polio research and to aid victims of the
disease and their families. The public had been urged to send in a
dime to the Foundation, and by Roosevelt's death, the Foundation was
already popularly known as the "March of Dimes."
Due to the limited amount of time available to design the new coin,
the Roosevelt dime was the first regular-issue U.S. coin designed by a
Mint employee in more than 40 years. Chief Engraver John R. Sinnock
was chosen, as he had already designed a Mint presidential medal of
Roosevelt. Sinnock's first design, submitted on October 12, 1945,
was rejected, but a subsequent one was accepted on January 6, 1946.
The dime was released to the public on January 30, 1946, which would
have been Roosevelt's 64th birthday. Sinnock's design placed his
initials ("JS") at the base of Roosevelt's neck, on the coin's
obverse. His reverse design elements of a torch, olive branch, and
oak branch symbolized, respectively, liberty, peace, and victory.
Controversy immediately ensued, as strong anti-Communist sentiment in
the United States led to the circulation of rumors that the "JS"
engraved on the coin was the initials of Joseph Stalin, placed there
by a Soviet agent in the mint. The Mint quickly issued a
statement refuting this, confirming that the initials were indeed Sinnock's.
Another controversy surrounding Sinnock's design involves his image of
Roosevelt. Soon after the coin's release, it was claimed that Sinnock
borrowed his design of Roosevelt from a bas relief created by African
American sculptor Selma Burke, unveiled at the Recorder of Deeds
Building in Washington D.C. in September 1945. Sinnock denied this,
claiming that he simply utilized his earlier design on the Roosevelt
With the passage of the Coinage Act of 1965, the composition of the
dime changed from 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper to a clad
"sandwich" of copper between two layers of an alloy of 91.67 percent
copper and 8.33 percent nickel. This composition was selected because
it gave similar mass (now 2.27 grams instead of 2.5 grams) and
electrical properties (important in vending machines)—and most
importantly, because it contained no precious metal.
Soon after the change of composition, silver dimes (as well as silver
quarters and half dollars) began to disappear from circulation, as
people receiving them in change hoarded them (see Gresham's law).
Although now rare in circulation, silver dimes may occasionally turn
up in customers' change.
Starting in 1992, the US Mint re-introduced silver coins in its annual
collectors sets. This included a 90 percent silver proof Roosevelt
Dime, Washington Quarter(s) and Kennedy Half Dollar, a series that
Since 1946 the Roosevelt dime has been minted every year. Through
1955, all three mints, Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco
produced circulating coinage; production at San Francisco ended in
1955, resuming in 1968 with proof coinage only. Through 1964 "D" and
"S" mintmarks can be found to the left of the torch. From 1968, the
mintmarks have appeared above the date. None were used in 1965–67, and
Philadelphia did not show a mintmark until 1980 (in 1982, an error
left the "P" off a small number of dimes, which are now valuable). To
commemorate the 50th anniversary of the design, the 1996 mint sets
included a "W" mintmarked dime made at the West Point Mint. A total of
1,457,000 dimes were issued in the sets.
In 2003, a group of conservative Republicans in Congress proposed
removing Roosevelt's image from the dime, and replacing it with that
of President Ronald Reagan, although he was still alive. Legislation
to this effect was introduced in November 2003 by Indiana
Representative Mark Souder. Amongst the more notable opponents of the
legislation was Nancy Reagan, who in December 2003 stated that, "When
our country chooses to honor a great president such as Franklin
Roosevelt by placing his likeness on our currency, it would be wrong
to remove him." After President Reagan's death in June 2004, the
proposed legislation gained additional support. Souder, however,
stated that he was not going to pursue the legislation any further.
Back -- United State Dimes