|Value||0.02 U.S. Dollar|
|Composition||90% Cu, 10% Ag|
|Years of minting||1836|
|Mint marks||None, all were minted at the Philadelphia Mint|
|Design||Denomination surrounded by a wreath|
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 (most from the 1850s).
A two-cent piece had been proposed as early as 1806 by Connecticut Senator Uriah Tracy, along with a twenty-cent piece or "double dime". Reflecting the then-prevalent view that coins should contain their value in metal, Tracy's bill provided that the two-cent piece be made of billon, or debased silver. The proposed metal would have consisted of 6.4 grains of silver and 24.3 grains of copper.The Mint Director at the time Robert Patterson opposed the bill, as it would be difficult to refine the silver from melted-down pieces. Tracy's legislation failed in the House of Representatives, despite passing in the Senate twice.
The Mint considered a two-cent piece again for the second time in 1836. Second Engraver Christian Gobrecht and Melter and Refiner Franklin Peale both conducted experiments for the coin, and concluded that the piece was to be made of billon (similar to the 1806 proposal). Although the coin was proposed in early drafts of the Mint Act of 1837, this the proposal was dropped when Peale showed that the coin could be easily counterfeited.
A two cent piece was proposed for a third time during the economic turmoil of the American Civil War, due to a national coin shortage. For the most part, the lack of coins was filled by private token issues, some were struck in copper-nickel approximating the size of the cent and others were thinner pieces in bronze.
This fact did not escape government officials, and in 1863, the use of bronze coins was proposed, as they did not seem to contain their face values in metal. In his annual report submitted October 1, 1863, Mint Director James Pollock noted that "whilst people expect a full value in their gold and silver coins, they merely want the inferior [base metal] money for convenience in making exact payments". He observed that the private cent tokens had sometimes contained as little as a fifth of a cent in metal, yet had still circulated. He proposed that the copper-nickel cent be replaced with a bronze piece of the same size. Pollock also wanted to eliminate nickel as a coinage metal; its hard alloys destroyed dies and machinery. On December 8, Pollock wrote to Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase, proposing a bronze cent and two-cent piece, and enclosing pattern coins of the two-cent piece that he had had prepared. According to numismatist Neil Carothers, a two-cent piece was most likely proposed in order to get as much dollar value in small change into circulation in as short a time as possible, as the Mint could strike a two-cent piece as easily as a cent.
The bronze two-cent piece eventually became a regular issue, but with declining mintage numbers each year until it was discontinued officially in 1873.
|52||55||–||Billon with smooth edge|
|53||54||–||Billon with reeded edge|
|54||57||–||Copper with smooth edge|
|54A||55A||56||Cupronickel with smooth edge|
|54B||55B||57||Cupronickel with reeded edge|
|55||56||–||Copper with reeded edge|
|56||59||–||White metal or tin-washed copper with smooth edge|
|56A||58||–||White metal or tin-washed copper with reeded edge|
|–||–||59||Silver or silver-plated billon or copper|
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.
The Coinage Act of 1873 or Mint Act of 1873, 17 Stat. 424, was a general revision of the laws relating to the Mint of the United States. In abolishing the right of holders of silver bullion to have their metal struck into fully legal tender dollar coins, it ended bimetallism in the United States, placing the nation firmly on the gold standard. Because of this, the act became contentious in later years, and was denounced by some as the "Crime of '73".
A nickel 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 0.835 inches (21.21 mm) and its thickness is 0.077 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 2018, over 1.26 billion nickels were produced at the Philadelphia and Denver mints.
The two-cent piece was produced by the Mint of the United States for circulation from 1864 to 1872 and for collectors in 1873. Designed by James B. Longacre, there were decreasing mintages each year, as other minor coins such as the nickel proved more popular. It was abolished by the Mint Act of 1873.
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 American twenty-cent piece is a coin struck from 1875 to 1878, but only for collectors in the final two years. Proposed by Nevada Senator John P. Jones, it proved a failure due to confusion with the quarter, to which it was close in both size and value.
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.
This glossary of numismatics is a list of definitions of terms and concepts relevant to numismatics and coin collecting, as well as sub-fields and related disciplines, with concise explanations for the beginner or professional.
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 Shield nickel was the first United States five-cent piece to be made out of copper-nickel, the same alloy of which American nickels are struck today. Designed by James B. Longacre, the coin was issued from 1866 until 1883, when it was replaced by the Liberty Head nickel. The coin takes its name from the motif on its obverse, and was the first five-cent coin referred to as a "nickel"—silver pieces of that denomination had been known as half dimes.
The Silver center cent is an American pattern coin produced by the United States Mint in 1792. As a precursor to the large cent it was one of the first coins of the United States and an early example of a bimetallic coin. Only 12 original examples are known to exist, of which one is located in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution. Two more specimens exist however contain fabricated plugs added after minting.
The three-dollar piece was a gold coin produced by the United States Bureau of the Mint from 1854 to 1889. Authorized by the Act of February 21, 1853, the coin was designed by Mint Chief Engraver James B. Longacre. The obverse bears a representation of Lady Liberty wearing a headdress of a Native American princess and the reverse a wreath of corn, wheat, cotton, and tobacco.
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 coinage metals comprise, at a minimum, those metallic chemical elements which have historically been used as components in alloys used to mint coins. The term is not perfectly defined, however, since a number of metals have been used to make "demonstration coins" which have never been used to make monetized coins for any nation-state, but could be. Some of these elements would make excellent coins in theory, but their status as coin metals is not clear. In general, because of problems caused when coin metals are intrinsically valuable as commodities, there has been a trend in the 21st century toward use of coinage metals of only the least exotic and expensive types.
James Barton Longacre was an American portraitist and engraver, and the fourth Chief Engraver of the United States Mint from 1844 until his death. Longacre is best known for designing the Indian Head cent, which entered commerce in 1859, and for the designs of the Shield nickel, Flying Eagle cent and other coins of the mid-19th century.
The copper-nickel three-cent piece, often called a three-cent nickel piece or three-cent nickel, was designed by US Mint Chief Engraver James B. Longacre and struck by the United States Bureau of the Mint from 1865 to 1889. It was initially popular, but its place in commerce was supplanted by the five-cent piece, or nickel.
The three-cent silver, also known as the three-cent piece in silver or trime, was struck by the Mint of the United States for circulation from 1851 to 1872, and as a proof coin in 1873. Designed by the Mint's chief engraver, James B. Longacre, it circulated well while other silver coinage was being hoarded and melted, but once that problem was addressed, became less used. It was abolished by Congress with the Coinage Act of 1873.
Benjamin Franklin Peale was an employee and officer of the Philadelphia Mint from 1833 to 1854. Although Peale introduced many innovations to the Mint of the United States, he was eventually dismissed amid allegations he had used his position for personal gain.
The United States has several coins and banknotes which were proposed at one time but never adopted.
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.