Here’s Why Frank Sinatra Carried 10 Dimes in His Pocket At All Times – It Has to Do With His Son’s 1963 Kidnapping!

According to the Smithsonian Magazine, Frank Sinatra – who passed away on May 14, 1998 at the age of 84 – was buried ‘with a bottle of Jack Daniel’s whiskey, a pack of Camel cigarettes, a Zippo lighter, and a dollar’s worth of dimes.’ The whiskey, cigarettes, and lighter might make sense, but why the 10 dimes? 

To answer that question, we have to take a trip back to 1963 – when the cost of payphones had recently risen from 5 cents to 10 cents. Back then, it was commonplace to have dimes handy because it was one of the best ways to communicate. But Sinatra died in 1998, so why would he want to be buried with them?

Well, that’s because something traumatic happened to him and his family in 1963 – December 8, 1963, to be exact. Frank Sinatra had just received a phone call no father should ever receive – a phone call from a group of kidnappers notifying him that they had just kidnapped his 19-year-old son, Frank Sinatra Jr.

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His son was performing at the Harrah’s Club Lodge in Lake Tahoe that evening when a group of men barged into his dressing room, where he was resting with a friend. The men pretended to be delivering a package when they tied up the friend and blindfolded young Sinatra – taking him out a side door to a car. 

Frank Sinatra and His Dollar’s Worth of Dimes

The kidnappers contacted Frank Sinatra not long after and demanded that he only communicate with them through pay phones. From that moment on, Sinatra made sure to have 10 dimes on his person at all times. The kidnappers later demanded a ransom of $240,000 (which is equivalent to $2.4 million today). 

His son was safely returned three days later after Sinatra gave them the $240,000 ransom, but Sinatra continued that tradition of having a dollar’s worth of dimes in his pockets at all times until he died on May 14, 1998. He was buried in Plot B-8 at Desert Memorial Park with a dollar’s worth of dimes in his pocket.

An investigation into the kidnapping revealed that it was Barry Keenan, Joe Amsler, and John Irwin who kidnapped Frank Sinatra Jr. – Keenan was a former classmate of Sinatra Jr.’s sister and his only motive was money. While he got what he wanted initially, all three of them were later arrested and convicted. 

In fact, they received some hefty sentences for the kidnapping – including life in prison plus 75 years for Keenan and Amsler, and 75 years for Irwin. It didn’t turn out too bad for the three, with Keenan serving just 4.5 years and the other two being released within four years. Sinatra got most of his money back. 

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Frank Sinatra Jr. went on to enjoy a decorated career in the music industry – not as impactful as his father, but that’s more a testament to what his father meant to the industry. Sinatra Jr. died unexpectedly after suffering cardiac arrest while on tour in Daytona Beach, FL – he was 72 years old at the time. 

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