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12 Sep 2016

The Story of the West Point Dimes

Young Numismatists Exchange | user_9998

                In 1945, shortly after the death of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Vice President Harry Truman was called to the White House. He was greeted there by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who informed him that the President was dead. Truman was quiet for a moment, then asked if there was anything he could do for the family. The First Lady responded: "Is there anything we can do for you? For you are the one in trouble now."*

                This summed up rather nicely the state of affairs in 1945.

                In the midst of the general chaos occurring around the globe, the United States mourned the passing of who many considered the greatest President since Abraham Lincoln. Roosevelt, who the year before had secured his fourth term as President, was a highly respected national figure. Diagnosed with polio at age 39, he was also an activist determined to see this debilitating disease eradicated, founding the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, better known as the March of the Dimes, in 1938 as a fundraising campaign to pay for related research. A vaccine was developed for the disease in 1955, thanks largely to the awareness the President raised.

                Very soon after Roosevelt died, legislation was introduced to place his likeness on the dime, in honor of his work. With emotions running high, it quickly passed (in a fashion similar to that of the Kennedy Half Dollar in 1963), with artist John Sinnock to create the design. The artwork was well received, and remains largely unchanged to this day.

                In 1996, the Roosevelt dime celebrated its 50th anniversary. In honor of this milestone, a special change was slated to be made, though rather than a design upgrade, as with the Lincoln Cent in 1959, the dime was to be struck in a new location: the U.S. Mint at West Point.

                West Point, NY, is better known for its military academy than its minting facility. Originally a bullion depository, it began coin production in 1974 and continued producing circulation strike coins until 1986, producing cents and quarters with no mintmark. It gradually transitioned from circulation strikes to commemoratives, including the 1996-W dime. It was only available in uncirculated mint sets, and was never released for circulation. Its relatively low mintage of 1,457,000 makes it something of a key in the Roosevelt dime series, with the 2014 edition of 100 Greatest Modern Coins placing its value in the grade MS-67 at roughly $75 USD, easily one of the most expensive clad, non-error dimes. For 19 years, it was the only dime struck at West Point and the only commemorative dime in existence. Even today, it remains the only clad coin with a "W" mintmark.

                Then, in 2015, the U.S. Mint launched its March of the Dimes commemorative coin program, celebrating the 75th anniversary of FDR's pet project, by now grown into a massive organization dedicated to eliminating birth defects and infant fatality. The program consisted of a silver dollar and two commemorative dimes, including an uncirculated silver piece struck at the West Point mint, sold in a set and limited to 75,000 pieces.

                Both of these coins are a fitting tribute to the man who graces their obverse. Their history, though short, involves crippling diseases, a powerful President, a mint and a military academy. It is a rich history, well worth a close inspection.

 

* Sid Frank & Arden Davis Melick: The Presidents: Tidbits and Trivia   1982, Greenwich House

Comments

I have this dime. I got it for 13.00 in original mint cello.

Pat

Level 6

Sorry to inform you this site only hold one hundred people at time to follow. So unless you kept a list of you friends and who you follow all but a hundred are gone. Just for your info.. the servers are not built to hold more. As a matter of fact one of the collectors just removed all of them he didn't know. Good for him. Don't worry you won't lose you five points.

CoinLady

Level 6

FDR dimes are very underrated. The 1996-W is a good coin that does not get enough publicity.

Kepi

Level 6

Lots of info! Thanks!

user_7579

Level 4

Thank you for this info on the West Point mintmarks on the Roosevelt Dimes.

ZanzibarCoins

Level 4

Very neat!!! I don't have the 1996-W yet either. But I hope to get it someday!!! :)

Conan Barbarian

Level 5

i just got my first west point dime

Very interesting. I have always wondered what March of the Dimes was. I have only briefly seen it in a few Whitman Books. Thanks for sharing.

user_7180

Level 5

A nice tribute and now coins with historical appeal. Nicely done.

Pat

Level 6

Thanks for the work you did getting the information and sharing it with us. I picked up a few pointers! Very well done again thanks!

CMCC

Level 5

I still don't have that 1996-W, but it is on my list! Wonderfully done blog! Thank you!

Michael Kittle

Level 4

Always been a fan of the 1996 Mint Set that included the 1996-W dime. The full set seems like a bargain and I get them whenever I can when offered at or below greysheet prices. Of course, you have to look at the sets before buying to make sure they actually include that 1996-W dime as some folks unfortunately remove that coin and then sell the set to those who do not know any better.

Pat

Level 6

Great blog lots of information. I believe that dime has gone up in price. In a 69 grade. Thanks for the work appreciate it.

"SUN"

Level 5

Well done!

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