The Mercury dime was replaced in 1946 by the Roosevelt dime. It was designed in honor of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who died in April 1945. The dime was chosen due to Roosevelt's work in founding the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis and March of Dimes fund raising efforts that dated back to his first term.
But it was not just his humanitarian efforts that led to his image on a dime, Roosevelt was the first (and only) four term President in the U.S. and helped lead a nation out of the Great Depression and Second World War. From this perspective, he was admired and in some opinions a political hero. Immediately following his death, the public cried out for a memorial to their fallen leader and the Treasury Department quickly responded and began turning the wheels of change.
Designed by John R. Sinnock, the dime initially had a composition of 90% silver and 10% copper and later changed to a copper/nickel composition. Other than a composition change, the dime has not undergone any design changes to either the obverse or reverse making it currently the longest running coin series with an unchanged obverse and reverse design.
The obverse design depicts the 32nd President Franklin D. Roosevelt facing left. Below the chin of the design is the motto IN GOD WE TRUST and at the base of the bust design are the designer's initials JS. A mint mark for Philadelphia (P), Denver (D), or San Francisco (S) is located just above the date for coins from 1968.
The reverse design features a a torch, oak branch, and olive branch covering the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM while the overall design is encircled with the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and ONE DIME separated by two dots. For coins from 1946-1964 a mint mark for Denver (D), or San Francisco (S) is located to the left of the bottom of the torch.
There are only two type coins for the series and are strictly based on metal composition.
- Type 1 - Silver Dimes 1946-1964
- Type 2 - Copper/Nickel Clad Dimes 1965-Present
General Market Notes
Copper/clad or Type 2 issues can easily be found in pocket change while silver dimes are routinely found in coin shops for only a small amount in uncirculated condition.
The only key to the series is the 1949-S, but even this coin is not beyond the financial reach of even low budget collectors making the Roosevelt dime series one of the most accessible and affordable coins to collect today.