The Roosevelt dime was issued in 1946 to honor the recently deceased Franklin D. Roosevelt. The dime was selected as the coin to bear President Roosevelt's image since he had been a strong proponent of the March of Dimes Campaign to battle
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The Roosevelt Dime was first issued in 1946 to honor the recently deceased Franklin D. Roosevelt. President Roosevelt had long been a strong proponent of the March of Dimes Campaign to battle polio, and therefore, the dime was selected as the coin to bear his image. The portrait of Roosevelt was created by John Ray Sinnock and accepted only after revisions were made which lent more dignity to the design. Controversy immediately followed the release of the coin. Sculptor Selma Burke, who had submitted a portrait of Roosevelt five years earlier, and has a plaque bearing her portrait of Roosevelt hanging at the Recorder of Deeds Building in Washington, D.C., claimed Sinnock used her work as a model for his own design, a charge denied by Sinnock. Additionally, a theory grew among many Amercians that the initials, J.S., stood for Joseph Stalin, furthering the paranoia and mistrust of Communism at that time.
Rising silver prices in the 1960's caused the silver value of coins to be worth more than their face values. This led to the U.S. Government passing the Coinage Act of 1965, which took silver out of dimes and quarters. For the dime, this meant a change in composition from 90% silver and 10% copper to a cupronickel composition of 91.6% copper and 8.3% nickel. The resulting Roosevelt Dime was slightly lighter than the silver version, but maintained its size and electromagnetic properties, both of which were key for ensuring the continued functionality of the new dimes in existing vending machines and pay phones.
Clad Roosevelt Dimes have been produced from 1965 to Date. They are minted at the Denver and Philadelphia Mints. The coins are comprised of .916 copper and .0833 nickel with a diameter of 17.91mm and a mass of 2.268 grams with a reeded edge.