The dime is a U.S. coin worth 10 cents. It is the smallest in diameter and thinnest coin minted for circulation in the U.S. The denomination of the dime was first authorized by the Coinage Act of 1792. The word "dime" comes from the French word dîme, meaning "tithe" or "tenth part," from the Latin decima.
The obverse design of the current dime features the profile of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The reverse design features an olive branch, a torch, and an oak branch. However, the design of the coin has changed frequently over the years. Here are a few notable versions of the dime in history:
Disme (1792) - The Coinage Act of 1792 authorized the mintage of a "disme," one-tenth the silver weight and value of a dollar. In 1792, a number of dismes were minted but never put into circulation due to a low demand and production problems at the U.S. Mint.
Draped Bust (1796-1807) - The Draped Bust was the first dime to be minted for circulation, in 1796. The coin was designed by then-Chief Engraver Robert Scot. The obverse side features a portrait of Lady Liberty. The reverse side features an outstretched bald eagle surrounded by palm and olive branches.
Seated Liberty (1837-1891) - The Seated Liberty was designed by Christian Gobrecht. The obverse side features Lady Liberty sitting on a rock, while holding a staff with a liberty cap on top. Her right hand is holding a shield with the inscription "LIBERTY." The reverse side features the inscription "ONE DIME" surrounded by a wreath.
Winged Liberty Head ("Mercury") 1916-1945 - The Winged Liberty Head is commonly referred to as the "Mercury" dime, though it does not depict the Roman messenger God. The obverse side features the Roman goddess Liberty wearing a Phrygian cap, a Western symbol of liberty, with its wings meant to symbolize freedom of thought. The reverse design features a fasces juxtaposed with an olive branch, symbolizing America's willingness for war and desire for peace.
Franklin D. Roosevelt (1946-present) - Shortly after his death in 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was chosen to feature on the new dime. He was chosen in part for his efforts in founding the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, which originally raised money for polio research and to aid victims and their families. The obverse design features the profile of Franklin D. Roosevelt. The reverse side features a torch, olive branch, and oak branch, symbolizing, respectively, liberty, peace, and strength.