At one time, we had a president who looked at our coinage and decided that it needed to change. This president wanted to place his mark on our coinage by creating a modern classic beauty that fit a great nation. Rather than trying to fight with congress to make these changes, this president looked at what could be done without congressional involvement. He picked the oldest coin and started ordering redesign. This president call it his “pet crime.”
The oldest design on our circulation coinage is the Roosevelt Dime. Shortly after the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the public was clamoring for something to honor the fallen president. The dime seemed like a natural choice since Roosevelt was inflicted with polio, or infantile paralysis as it was commonly known, and the dime was the symbol of the “March of Dimes” campaign that began during Roosevelt’s first term.
The Roosevelt Dime has been used since 1946. With the exception of the placement of the mint mark and the composition, its design has not changed in 62 years. There has also not been a “special program” to alter the design during that time. After the obverse of the Lincoln Cent, it is the oldest design of any current issue. Maybe it is time for a change.
Before someone attacks me about FDR’s association with the March of Dimes, think about when the last time you saw a “Dime Card” campaign. I remember the dime cards. They were passed out in schools or placed on counters at local stores for people to slip dimes into the slots. The cards were returned to the March of Dimes who would use the money for their good work. But they do not use this method any more—although the Penny Harvest demonstrates how using small change can go a long way. You may be able to find these cards in yard sales, antique shops, or in auctions.
Not only are these cards hard to find, I had a difficult time searching for an image to use on this page!
In the mean time, the president whose pet crime gave our coinage the greatest renaissance in its history has never been honored on a coin. Maybe it is time to retire Franklin and replace his with his fifth cousin, Theodore Roosevelt.
Theodore Roosevelt was not only the first president to earn the Nobel Peace Prize but he is the only one to earn it while still in office. The trust-busting Roosevelt worked tirelessly for the every day American. Roosevelt felt it was so important to work for the people that he invited the people to greet the president Sundays at the White House. People lined up for hours to shake Roosevelt’s hand.
It was Theodore Roosevelt’s administration that purchased the most land of any administration as public park lands to preserve their beauty for all Americans. Roosevelt created the National Wildlife Refuge System by presidential proclamation in 1903.
Theodore Roosevelt is the only president honored on Mount Rushmore not honored on our money. Maybe it is time we honor Theodore Roosevelt on the US coinage he took pride in beautifying.