Special Sub-Topic: Once Upon A Dime
|Why is the American ten-cent coin called a dime?
It comes from the old French "disme", meaning 1/10. . "Disme" is pronounced the same as "dime" - the "s" is silent.
The first dime was actually spelled "disme". A few were minted in 1792, but they never circulated. Most dismes were silver (with some copper), but there were a few that were just plain copper - pattern pieces only. Dimes intended for circulation would not appear for four more years.
|When did Roosevelt's face first appear on the front (obverse) of the dime?
1946. The dime was released on what would have been FDR's 64th birthday, January 30.
By law, no living person can appear on circulating American money (although living people have occasionally appeared on commemorative issues), and normally a person cannot be featured on a coin until s/he has been dead for at least two years. However, Virginia congressman Ralph H. Daughton introduced special legislation soon after Roosevelt died to honor him with a dime, and the coin was quickly approved and released. (A similar situation occurred with the Kennedy half-dollar.)
The dime was chosen to honor Roosevelt because he had founded The March of Dimes, an organization whose mission was to combat Polio (and later, prevent birth defects).
[Thanks, nautilator, for the correction assist.]
|Which of the following is NOT part of the reverse design of the Roosevelt Dime?
wings, which symbolize freedom of thought . The wings and their symbolism are actually on the front of the Mercury dime, as part of the cap on Liberty's head.
|Before the Roosevelt Dime, there were several other varieties of the 10-cent coin. In order, they were: Draped Bust, Capped Bust, Seated Liberty, Barber, and Mercury. Which one of these names was a misnomer?
Mercury. "Mercury" is a misnomer; the public saw the winged cap and made the connection to Roman mythology instead of seeing the face of the female goddess Liberty it was intended to represent. A more correct name is the "Winged Liberty Head" dime, but the public called it "Mercury" and the name has stuck. The Mercury dime was made from 1916-1945. The reverse showed a fasces (a bundle of rods with an axe), symbolizing strength through unity, and an olive branch, symbolizing peace.
Both the "Draped Bust" and "Capped Bust" figures wore a drape or gown across the shoulders, but the "Capped Bust" also wore a cap on her head with the word "LIBERTY" across it. The "Seated Liberty" design showed an entire person, sitting down. The "Barber" dime (also called "Liberty Head") was named after Charles E. Barber, who designed it.
|If you come across a Mercury dime dated 1923D, what have you found?
A counterfeit coin. Mercury dimes from 1923 will either have an "S" mint mark or no mint mark at all. You are much more likely to find one with no mint mark; over 50 million of them were made. In contrast, only 6,440,000 1923S dimes were minted.
|If you come across a Roosevelt dime dated 1982 (no mint mark), what have you found?
An error coin. All circulating coins since 1980, except for pennies, have had either a D (Denver) or a P (Philadelphia) mint mark. Pennies and coins made prior to 1980 either have a D (Denver) or no mint mark (Philadelphia). Therefore, any non-penny coin dated 1980 or after without a mint mark would be an error coin. The dime mentioned in the question is somewhat valuable, depending on its condition.
Other mint marks do exist, but either are not currently used or are on coins not intended for circulation.
|What is the silver content of a dime minted before 1965?|
90% silver, 10% copper . The composition of the dime (disme) was set in the Coinage Act of 1792 at 89.24% silver and 10.76% copper. The ratio was adjusted to 90/10 in 1837, and it remained that way for the next 128 years.
|What is the composition of a dime minted after 1965?
an outer layer of 75% copper and 25% nickel, sandwiched around pure copper . The U.S. Mint makes special sets for collectors that contain dimes, quarters, and half-dollars made of 90% silver. These special annual proof sets were introduced in 1992. The coins for these sets are minted at the San Francisco Mint, and therefore have an "S" mintmark. They are not intended for circulation, although some of these coins do occasionally show up in pocket change.
|An extremely rare coin is the 1894-S Barber dime. Only 24 were minted, all proofs. How many were known to still exist in 2012?
9. Not a lot is known about these extremely rare coins. The story is that they were minted to be given as gifts by the Superintendent of the San Francisco Mint. He gave three to each of seven people - probably bankers or visitors to the mint - and possibly gave the last three to his daughter Hallie, who spent one on ice cream and kept the other two. The story cannot be verified, however.
It is also possible that the coins were struck to test the dies, or to make $2.40 necessary to balance the books. The mystery behind these coins is one of the reasons collectors are so intrigued by them.
Besides the nine known 1894-S Barber dimes, there are three more rumored to exist. It's not likely that any more will be found, but you never know...
In 2005, one of the coins was sold at auction for $1,322,500. Two years later, it was resold to an anonymous buyer for $1.9 million.
|Why did the release of the Roosevelt dime trigger rumors of a Communist plot?
Designer John Sinnock's initials were mistaken for those of Josef Stalin. . It is common practice for coin designers to place their initials somewhere in their designs - go ahead, take a look at your pocket change! But John Sinnock's "JS" under Roosevelt's neck immediately spurred rumors that a Soviet agent working at the mint had secretly put Stalin's initials there to (somehow) undermine the United States. The Mint quickly issued a statement explaining that the initials belonged to Sinnock.
There was never a Soviet agent at the Mint, and as far as I know, Roosevelt's picture was always intended to face left.
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