HomeUS CoinsWho Is on the Dime?

Who Is on the Dime?

An image of a dime and President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s likeness was put on the dime starting in 1946.

By CoinWeek ….

When people first encounter a coin, they may not be familiar with the person portrayed on the obverse or sometimes portrayed on the reverse. This is especially true for currently circulating United States coinage, which features the effigies of American presidents on each denomination. All of them are incredibly popular ways to start coin collecting, and the average person probably knows each coin by the president depicted on it.

So to start, we wanted to answer the question: who is on the U.S. dime?

Short answer: Franklin Delano Roosevelt (“FDR”), the 32nd President of the United States. Elected in 1933 at the height of the Great Depression, FDR led the country not only through that economic crisis but also through most of World War II. Serving an unprecedented four consecutive terms, President Roosevelt died in office on April 12, 1945. Beloved by the common man, FDR’s legacy included the New Deal, a series of programs as disparate as the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and Social Security that was intended to bring the country out the Depression and provide a safety net for Americans in the future.

Upon his death, there were proposals from the Treasury Department to place FDR’s portrait on a circulating coin. Because coin designs cannot be changed before 25 years have passed following their introductions, only the cent, the dime, and the half dollar were available for such a commemoration. The dime was settled on because of Roosevelt’s relationship to the March of Dimes campaign. In 1921, a 39-year-old President Roosevelt contracted what many people believed was polio and ended up paralyzed from the waist down. And while the Administration did its best to prevent the American public from fixating on Roosevelt’s infirmity, the March of Dimes campaign to eradicate polio by “crowdfunding” the development of a cure took inspiration from FDR’s very famous case. Hence, the dime was an obvious choice to honor President Roosevelt, and the design created by United States Mint Chief Engraver John R. Sinnock debuted to the public on January 30 (FDR’s birthday), 1946.

For more information on Roosevelt dimes, check out the Collector’s Guide from CoinWeek Notes.

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Coinweek is the top independent online media source for rare coin and currency news, with analysis and information contributed by leading experts across the numismatic spectrum.

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