Roosevelt Dimes (1946-1964)

Silver Roosevelt Dimes were struck by the United States Mint less than a year after the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt who is shown on the coin’s obverse. Shown on the reverse is a torch, olive branch, and oak branch.

1963 Roosevelt Dime

1963 Roosevelt Dime

Roosevelt Dimes remain in production today after more than sixty-five years. However, their composition was changed after 1964 to a copper nickel blend. They were initially composed of 90% silver with approximately 0.0723 ounces of the precious metal. (The calculator to the right offers current melt value information.)

The U.S. Mint was issuing Winged Liberty Head Dimes, also known as Mercury Dimes, prior to the release of Roosevelt Dimes. These coins were first introduced in 1916 and lasted until 1945. They could have seen a design change after twenty five years. However, owing to World War II and the popularity of the mercury coin designs, there was no concerted effort to make a change.

Historical Roosevelt Dime Silver Coin Melt Values

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But conditions changed following the death of the 32nd President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Within a short period after his death, Virginia Congressman Ralph H. Daughton called for Roosevelt’s image to be used on the dime. It would mark the fourth circulating U.S. coin to feature a former President — after the cent coin which started using the image of Abraham Lincoln in 1909, the quarter dollar which featured George Washington beginning in 1932 and the nickel which featured Thomas Jefferson starting in 1938.

The dime was the chosen denomination owing partly to the fact the President Roosevelt helped to found the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, which later became known as the March of Dimes. The organization assumed its newer name because its initial fund-raising campaigns asked for a dime to be sent in.

With little lead-time before the new coins were to be struck, U.S. Mint Chief Engraver John R. Sinnock was chosen to complete the designs. He had already completed a Roosevelt Medal and was seen as the likely candidate for the project. Sinnock’s new designs were introduced to the public on January 30, 1946 when the coin was released. That release date would have been Roosevelt’s 64th birthday, but more astonishing is the fact that it occurred less than nine months after his death exemplifying the quick response of the U.S. Mint.

Coin enthusiasts will find that obtaining a Roosevelt Dime collection is relatively easy to do even with older silver versions. Those silver coins have a following of their own, however, because each also has an intrinsic melt value associated with it.

Termed junk silver coins, silver Roosevelt Dimes with little or no numismatic value are relatively valuable because of the 0.0723 ounces of silver in each.


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