Whose face is on the dime? If you have a handful of change in your pocket, you’ve likely handled a Roosevelt dime hundreds of times without giving it much thought. But the profile engraved on the dime has an intriguing backstory. The dime bears the face of one of America’s most celebrated presidents who led the nation through economic turmoil and world war.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The face on the dime is Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the United States.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the origins of the Roosevelt dime. We’ll learn about FDR’s presidency during the Great Depression and World War II. And we’ll uncover how his profile came to replace the iconic Winged Liberty Head design on the dime 75 years ago in 1946.
The Origins of the Roosevelt Dime
The Roosevelt dime is one of the most iconic coins in United States history, but its origins can be traced back to two key events: the creation of the Mercury dime and the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
The Mercury Dime (1916-1945)
Before the Roosevelt dime came into existence, the Mercury dime was the coin in circulation. Introduced in 1916, the Mercury dime featured a design by Adolph A. Weinman, depicting Liberty wearing a winged cap, commonly mistaken as the Roman god Mercury.
The Mercury dime quickly gained popularity due to its beautiful design and the fact that it was minted in silver. This dime became a symbol of American strength and prosperity during the early 20th century.
However, as the years went by, there arose a need for a new design. The Mercury dime’s portrayal of Liberty was seen as outdated, and there was a desire to honor a different figure on the coin.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Presidency (1933-1945)
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, often referred to as FDR, served as the 32nd President of the United States from 1933 until he died in 1945. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential presidents in American history due to his leadership during the Great Depression and World War II.
Due to his immense popularity and significant contributions to the nation, it was decided that FDR would be the ideal figure to feature in the new dime. In 1946, the year after his death, the Roosevelt dime was introduced as a tribute to the late president.
The Roosevelt dime featured a portrait of FDR on the obverse, along with an olive branch, signifying peace, and a torch, symbolizing freedom, on the reverse. This design was created by John R. Sinnock, the Chief Engraver of the United States Mint at the time.
Since its introduction, the Roosevelt dime has become a symbol of American resilience and the lasting legacy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It remains in circulation to this day, reminding us of the remarkable history behind its creation.
Honoring FDR on the Dime in 1946
When it comes to commemorating influential figures on coins, Franklin D. Roosevelt stands out as one of the most notable individuals. In 1946, the United States Mint decided to honor President Roosevelt by featuring his portrait on the dime, a decision that would forever change the design of this small but significant coin.
Reasons to Memorialize FDR on Coinage
There were several reasons why the United States Mint chose to memorialize Franklin D. Roosevelt on the dime. Firstly, Roosevelt was the only U.S. President to serve for four terms, making him one of the most influential leaders in American history.
His leadership during the Great Depression and World War II left a lasting impact on the nation.
Secondly, Roosevelt’s New Deal policies helped to reshape the American economy and society during a time of great turmoil. His efforts to provide relief, recovery, and reform were instrumental in stabilizing the country and laying the foundation for future progress.
Lastly, Roosevelt’s advocacy for social and economic equality made him a beloved figure among many Americans. His commitment to helping the less fortunate and fighting for civil rights resonated with the public and solidified his reputation as a champion of the people.
The Process of Designing the New Roosevelt Dime
The design process for the new Roosevelt dime began shortly after President Roosevelt’s passing in 1945. The United States Mint enlisted the help of renowned sculptor John R. Sinnock to create a fitting tribute to the late President.
Sinnock’s design featured a profile of Roosevelt on the obverse (front) of the coin, with the word “Liberty” inscribed above and the motto “In God We Trust” placed below. On the reverse (back) side, the traditional torch and olive branch were replaced with an image of an oak branch, symbolizing strength and stability.
Once the design was finalized, the United States Mint began minting the new Roosevelt dime in 1946. The dime’s composition was changed from 90% silver and 10% copper to a combination of copper and nickel, due to the rising cost of silver.
Since its introduction, the Roosevelt dime has become a popular and widely recognized coin in circulation. Its enduring design and the legacy of Franklin D. Roosevelt continue to be honored and remembered through this small piece of currency.
Collecting and Appreciating Roosevelt Dimes Today
Collecting coins has always been a popular hobby, and one of the most sought-after coins among collectors is the Roosevelt dime. Named after President Franklin D. Roosevelt, these dimes have a rich history and are highly valued by numismatists worldwide.
If you’re interested in starting or expanding your Roosevelt dime collection, here are some key things to consider.
Key Date Roosevelt Dimes
When it comes to collecting Roosevelt dimes, some dates are more important than others. These key date dimes are typically harder to find and command higher prices in the market. For example, the 1949-S Roosevelt dime is considered a key date due to its low mintage and high demand.
Other key dates include the 1955, 1970-S, and 1982-P Roosevelt dimes. These dimes often have unique characteristics or errors, making them even more valuable to collectors. Keep an eye out for these key dates when searching for Roosevelt dimes to add to your collection.
Condition and Rarity
The condition of a coin plays a significant role in its value, and Roosevelt dimes are no exception. Coins in better condition are generally more desirable to collectors and command higher prices. Look for dimes with minimal wear, sharp details, and no damage.
It’s also important to consider the rarity of a specific coin. Some Roosevelt dimes were minted in lower quantities, making them rarer and more valuable. Do your research and consult reputable coin grading sources to determine the condition and rarity of the dimes you’re interested in.
Building a Roosevelt Dime Collection
Building a collection of Roosevelt dimes can be an exciting and rewarding endeavor. There are several ways you can approach it. Some collectors aim to acquire one dime from each year of issue, while others focus on specific mint marks or key dates.
You can also build a themed collection, such as a set of dimes with different mint marks or dimes featuring unique designs. Additionally, consider the grade and condition of the coins you collect. Some collectors strive to obtain coins in the highest grades possible, while others are content with lower-grade examples.
Ultimately, the goal is to create a collection that reflects your interests and preferences.
Whose Face Is On The Dime – Summary
Whose face is on the dime? Although it’s one of the most common coins, the Roosevelt dime is steeped in fascinating history. The profile of FDR honors his leadership through enormously challenging times in America’s past. Studying the dime’s origins illuminates key moments that shaped the nation we know today.
Next time you spot a dime among your loose change, take a closer look. The iconic design speaks to the leadership of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, his policies that reshaped America, and the artists who immortalized his profile in engraving.