The United States has several coins and banknotes which were proposed at one time but never adopted.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Most of the country is located contiguously in North America between Canada and Mexico.
Coins of the United States dollar were first minted in 1792. New coins have been produced annually and they make up a valuable aspect of the United States currency system. Today, circulating coins exist in denominations of 1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, and $1.00. Also minted are bullion and commemorative coins. All of these are produced by the United States Mint. The coins are then sold to Federal Reserve Banks which in turn are responsible for putting coins into circulation and withdrawing them as demanded by the country's economy.
Multiple types of banknotes of the United States dollar have been issued, including Federal Reserve Notes, Silver Certificates, Gold certificates and United States Notes.
A three dollar bill was proposed two times during the 1860s. A design was engraved for a potential $3 United States Note, and a 1865 law called for a $3 National Bank Note, but neither proposal came to fruition.
A United States Note, also known as a Legal Tender Note, is a type of paper money that was issued from 1862 to 1971 in the U.S. Having been current for 109 years, they were issued for longer than any other form of U.S. paper money. They were known popularly as "greenbacks", a name inherited from the earlier greenbacks, the Demand Notes, that they replaced in 1862. Often termed Legal Tender Notes, they were named United States Notes by the First Legal Tender Act, which authorized them as a form of fiat currency. During the 1860s the so-called second obligation on the reverse of the notes stated:
This Note is a Legal Tender for All Debts Public and Private Except Duties On Imports And Interest On The Public Debt; And Is Redeemable In Payment Of All Loans Made To The United States.
National Bank Notes were United States currency banknotes issued by National banks chartered by the United States Government. The notes were usually backed by United States bonds the bank deposited with the United States Treasury. In addition, banks were required to maintain a redemption fund amounting to five percent of any outstanding note balance, in gold or "lawful money".
|$3 note||Not to be confused with fake or privately issued obsolete notes or the three-dollar Continental currency banknotes issued during the American Revolution|
There have been several United States coins which were proposed but never adopted. Most of the coins listed below, although never adopted, were produced in limited numbers as patterns.
A pattern coin is a coin which has not been approved for release, but produced to evaluate a proposed coin design. They are often off-metal strike, to proof standard or piedforts. Many coin collectors collect and study pattern coins because of their historical importance. Many of the world's most valuable coins are pattern coins; nearly one quarter of the pieces listed in 100 Greatest US Coins are pattern coins.
| Silver center cent |
|4.48 g||24.00 mm||Cu (ring)|
|reeded||1792||The first and only US bi-metallic coin until the 2000 Library of Congress ten dollar coin.|
| Ring cent |
|various weights||90% Cu |
10% Ag α
|various||1850–1851, 1853 β , 1884–1885||196 ring cents (originals and restrikes) are known to exist. Examples exist with or without a hole.|
| Aluminum cent |
|0.937 g||19.05 mm||96% Al |
4% trace metals
| Two-cent billon |
|3.84 g||~13.00 mm||90% Cu|
|Two and a half cent piece|
|unknown||unknown||unknown||unknown||never minted||Proposed in 1916 by US mint director Robert W. Woolley. |
Civil War tokens of this denomination exist.
| Three-cent bronze |
|10.89 g||28.57 mm||95% Cu|
|Gold ring half dollar|
|Gold ring dollar|
|Two dollar piece|
|unknown||unknown||unknown||unknown||never minted||Proposed but not minted. Some privately struck renditions exist.|
| Stella |
|7.00 g||22 mm||6.00g Au|
| Half-union |
|83.58 g||50.80 mm||90% Au|
10% Cu γ
|reeded||1877|| Commemorative coins of this denomination were issued in 1915. |
Several bullion coins are produced in this denomination.
| Union |
|unknown||never minted||Cancelled before any patterns could be minted (fantasy coin shown). |
Some commemorative and bullion coins are minted in this denomination.
1943 steel cents are U.S. one-cent coins that were struck in steel due to wartime shortages of copper. The Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco mints each produced these 1943 Lincoln cents. The unique composition of the coin has led to various nicknames, such as wartime cent, steel war penny, and steelie. The 1943 steel cent features the same Victor David Brenner design for the Lincoln cent which had been in use since the first in 1909.
A nickel, in American usage, is a five-cent coin struck by the United States Mint. Composed of 75% copper and 25% nickel, the piece has been issued since 1866. Its diameter is .835 inches and its thickness is .077 inches (1.95 mm). Due to inflation, the purchasing power of the nickel continues to drop and currently the coin represents less than 1% of the federal hourly minimum wage. In 2015, over 1.5 billion nickels were produced at the Philadelphia and Denver mints.
The United States Mint has minted numerous commemorative coins to commemorate persons, places, events, and institutions since 1848. Many of these coins are not intended for general circulation, but are still legal tender. The mint also produces commemorative medals, which are similar to coins but do not have a face value, and therefore are not legal tender.
The Liberty Head nickel, sometimes referred to as the V nickel because of its reverse design, is an American five-cent piece. It was struck for circulation from 1883 until 1912, with at least five pieces being surreptitiously struck dated 1913. The obverse features a left-facing image of the goddess of Liberty.
The Indian Head cent, also known as an Indian Head penny, was a one-cent coin ($0.01) produced by the United States Bureau of the Mint from 1859 to 1909. It was designed by James Barton Longacre, the Chief Engraver at the Philadelphia Mint.
The United States large cent was a coin with a face value of 1/100 of a United States dollar. Its nominal diameter was 11⁄8 inch (28.57 mm). The first official mintage of the large cent was in 1793, and its production continued until 1857, when it was officially replaced by the modern-size one-cent coin.
The Flying Eagle cent is a one-cent piece struck by the Mint of the United States as a pattern coin in 1856 and for circulation in 1857 and 1858. The coin was designed by Mint Chief Engraver James B. Longacre, with the eagle in flight based on the work of Longacre's predecessor, Christian Gobrecht.
The gold dollar or gold one-dollar piece is a gold coin that was struck as a regular issue by the United States Bureau of the Mint from 1849 to 1889. The coin had three types over its lifetime, all designed by Mint Chief Engraver James B. Longacre. The Type 1 issue has the smallest diameter of any United States coin minted to date.
The 1974 aluminum cent was a one-cent coin proposed by the United States Mint in 1973. It was composed of an alloy of aluminum and trace metals, and intended to replace the predominantly copper–zinc cent due to the rising costs of coin production in the traditional bronze alloy. Of the 1,571,167 coins struck in anticipation of release, none were released into circulation. To encourage congressional support for the new alloy, the Mint distributed several examples to US Congressmen. When the proposed aluminum cent was rejected, the Mint recalled and destroyed those coins. However, despite the recall, a few aluminum cents were not returned to the Mint, and those coins may remain at-large. One example was donated to the Smithsonian Institution, while another was alleged to have been found by a US Capitol Police Officer. A 1974-D specimen was found in January 2014 by Randall Lawrence, who said it was a retirement gift to his father, who worked at the Mint in Denver. Randall planned on selling it in a public auction, but the Mint demanded its return, saying that the coin was never authorized for release and therefore remains U.S. Government property. Lawrence ultimately surrendered the coin when the Mint showed that the aluminum cent had never been authorized to be struck in Denver, and there was no evidence that the coin had been a gift of any kind.
The Half union was a United States coin minted as a pattern, or a coin not approved for release, with a face value of fifty U.S. Dollars. It is often thought of as one of the most significant and well-known patterns in the history of the U.S. Mint. The basic design, featuring Liberty on the obverse, was slightly modified from the similar $20 "Liberty Head" Double Eagle, which was designed by James B. Longacre and minted from 1849 to 1907.
The Fugio cent, also known as the Franklin cent, is the first official circulation coin of United States. Consisting of 0.36 oz of copper, it was designed by Benjamin Franklin and minted only in 1787. Its design is very similar to a 1776 Continental Currency dollar coin that was produced in pattern pieces as potential Continental currency but was never circulated.
The Coronet large cent was a type of large cent issued by the United States Mint in Philadelphia from 1816 until 1839.
The two-cent billon was a pattern US coin struck in 1836 and initially proposed as part of the Act of January 13, 1837. Versions exist with either a reeded edge and coin orientation or a plain edge and medal orientation; however, those with the former tend to be original strikes, whereas the latter are always proof restrikes.
The ring cent or holey cent was a one-cent pattern coin first struck in various compositions and designs between 1850 and 1851 as part of an experiment on producing a cent with a reduced weight and diameter, as the rising price of copper had caused cents to cost more than their face value to produce. Many varieties exist, with differing designs as well as differing compositions, including billon (standard), aluminum, copper, cupronickel, nickel silver, nickel, silver, and white metal.
The 1942 experimental cents were pattern coins struck by the United States Mint to test alternative compositions for the penny.
The 2000 Sacagawea dollar – Washington quarter mule is an error coin featuring the obverse of a Washington quarter and the reverse of a Sacagawea dollar struck on a gold-colored dollar coin planchet. It is one of the first known authentic mule coins to be released into circulation by the United States Mint.
The Washington nickel is a pattern coin that was struck by the United States Mint in 1866 and again in 1909 and 1910.
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