How to Collect Roosevelt Dimes

The death of Franklin D. Roosevelt in April of 1945 created a strong sentiment to issue a commemorative coin. After this idea was rejected, a regular issue coin was considered. Lincoln pennies (1909) Jefferson nickels (1938) and Washington quarter (1932) coins were deemed "untouchable." The only two remaining regular issue coins were half dollars and dimes. A number of special commemorative half dollars were already released. A replacement for the "Walker" half dollar (1916) was considered. After some debate, the ten cent coin was chosen. The old "Mercury" head dime had been minted since 1916, and it was time for a change. The designer of the FDR dime was John R. Sinnock who also went on to design the Franklin Half Dollar.


Some of the years and/or mint marks are more difficult to collect. Included in this group are these issues: 1949 P, D & S; 1950 S; 1951 S; 1952 S; 1955 P, D & S; 1958 P


The early Proof FDR dimes were minted in Philadelphia starting in 1950. These were minted in relatively low quantities until 1956. Clad Proof coins are much more common. After a lapse of many years, silver Proof dimes (San Francisco mint mark) were resumed in 1992. With the exception of error coins and a few "special" issues, most clad Proof dimes are very easy to obtain.


Error dimes are not considered part of the regular set. A few are very expensive. Here are the "tough" coins to acquire:

1950 S over D; 1960 Double Die Obverse; 1963 Doubled Die Obverse; 1964 Doubled Die Obverse 1982 (No mint mark); 1996 W Special Issue. In addition, some of the Clad Proofs of the late '70s and early '80s had no ("S") mint mark.

Novice collectors should initially try to assemble a "year" set with one coin of any mint from each year (1946 to the present). The next step is to collect all mint marks for each and every year. The final step is the upgrade of as many coins as possible to Brilliant Uncirculated condition.

The rising cost of silver bullion will affect the cost of obtaining these coins. At $20 per ounce, common date circulated dimes will retail for approximately $2 each. If the bullion price continues to increase, there is the genuine possibility that many of the pre-1965 dimes, quarters and halves will find their way to the melting pot--increasing the prices for any specimens. We last saw this phenomenon in the early 1980s!

Things You'll Need

  • A good magnifier
  • A good light source
  • A Dansco or Whitman coin album (for this series)
  • A current copy of the "Red Book" of U.S. Coins


  • Purchase a Whitman (basic) album and collect the common issues. Tougher (more scarce) coins will have to be purchased from a reliable dealer or at a coin show. Store your coins in a dry and cool place.


  • Never buy coins from a TV show or from the Internet. Compare prices, especially for the scarcer issues.