What Is a Dime Made Of?
What is a dime made of? Until 1837, all dimes minted in the United States were approximately 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper. After 1837, they were exactly 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper. Starting in 1964, they contained an inner core of 100 percent copper with two outer layers of 75 percent copper and 25 percent nickel. Read on to examine dimes closely from their first minting to the present day.
Dime Designs throughout History
Since you are wondering “What is a dime made of?” it might be interesting to look at all the different designs dimes have had over the years.
1796 to 1807: The Draped Bust Dime had the profile of Lady Liberty on the front. In the beginning, there was one star for each state in the Union. Soon, the U.S. Mint saw that there would soon be too many states to represent with a star, so the design included 13 stars for the original colonies. The back of the dime has an eagle on a cloud with olive and palm branches around him. This changed in 1798, with a better looking eagle with the U.S. shield in front of him.
1809 to 1837: The front of the Capped Bust Dime had Lady Liberty facing the opposite direction from the last dime. The eagle on the back held three arrows and an olive branch. The U.S. shield was on his breast and “10 c” was inscribed at the bottom.
1837 to 1891: Since Lady Liberty was seated on this dime; it was called the Seated Liberty. She held a staff with a liberty cap at the top. Her hand is touching the shield, which has the word LIBERTY across it. In 1838, 13 stars were added around Lady Liberty. The back of the dime had the words ONE DIME in the center surrounded by a laurel wreath. In 1860, the laurel was replaced with wheat, corn, maple, and oak leaves.
1892 to 1916: The Barber Dime was named after its designer, Charles Barber. The head of Lady Liberty is shown wearing a liberty cap, a laurel wreath, and a headband with LIBERTY written on it. The reverse is almost the same as the Seated Liberty Dime.
1916 to 1945: The Front of the Winged Liberty Head Dime shows a mythical goddess Liberty wearing a liberty cap that has wings. The cap represents freedom and the wings represent freedom of thought. The back side has fasces, which is a bundle of sticks with an axe in it. Behind and on the sides of fasces is an olive branch. This is meant to represent a readiness for war but a desire for peace.
1946 to present day: The Roosevelt Dime was produced the year after President Franklin D. Roosevelt died. It honored not only a great leader but his role in establishing the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis. This foundation started the March of Dimes fundraiser and later changed its name to the March of Dimes. The coin has the profile of FDR with the words LIBERTY and IN GOD WE TRUST. On the back, is a torch in the center for liberty, an oak branch for victory, and an olive branch for peace.
What is a Dime Made Of?
Current dimes are the smallest and thinnest coins being minted. They weigh 2.268 grams and have a diameter of 17.9 mm. They are layered with an inner core of copper and two outer layers of 75 percent copper and 25 percent nickel. The edges are reeded, meaning they have small grooves. The actual amount of silver in a dime is 0.07234 oz.
Now that you know the answer to the question “What is a dime made of?” perhaps you would like to know how a dime is made. It starts with a planchet, or blank, of metal. A die, which is the engraved stamp, is pressed onto the planchet. This is called striking. If the planchet is struck twice, it is called doubling. The “heads” side of a coin is the obverse and the “tails” is the reverse. Most coins have a mint mark, which is a letter or letters, telling where it was made. There are currently four US Mints in operation, located in Philadelphia - P, Denver - D, San Francisco - S, and West Point - W.