Obverse: The current design on the obverse of the dime first appeared in 1946, soon after the death of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The Roosevelt dime was released on the late President's birthday which was January 30th of that year. FDR's left-facing bust was created by the Mint's Chief Engraver John R. Sinnock.
Shortly after his death in 1945, citizens began writing to the Treasury Department requesting his likeness be depicted on a coin. The dime was a good choice because Roosevelt supported the March of Dimes, a program that raised funds for research to find a cure for polio. Roosevelt contracted the polio virus when he was 39 years old.
Reverse: Mr. Sinnock also designed the reverse of this coin: a torch signifying Liberty, with an olive branch on the left signifying Peace, and an oak branch on the right, signifying Strength and Independence.
The dime is the smallest, thinnest coin we use today. The name of the coin sounded the same as it does today, but the spelling was "disme" because the word is based on the Latin word "decimus," meaning "one tenth." The French used the word "disme" when they came up with the idea of money divided into ten parts in the 1500s, although they hadn’t implemented the idea.
Lady Liberty reigned on the dime in different forms for many years. Usually just her head was shown, but her full body, seated on a rock, was used during the 1800s. She was shown with wings on her head from 1916 to 1945, often called the Mercury dime, to symbolize freedom of thought.