In 1792 the Philadelphia Mint was built to coin US currency. At the time, Philadelphia was the capital of the United States. It seems like a lot has changed since 1792. With respect to our currency, a lot has definitely changed. For instance, most financial transactions today occur electronically. Conversely, in the 1700s and 1800s, many financial transactions involved coins. Several coins like the dime and the quarter have carried on for use today. However, there are coins that existed, some for a short while, that would today seem odd and obscure. Following is a short article about unusual US coinage and coins that have almost been forgotten about.

Unusual US Coinage : The Half-Cent.

Believe it or not, the United States Mint produced a coin that had the value of one-half of a cent. This coin was produced first in 1792 and the last of these coins was struck in 1857. Over the years, five different designs of this coin were made. The coin was made of 100% copper and was actually slightly smaller than today’s quarter dollar coin. The coin had a thickness of 2 mm which stayed constant, however over the years the diameter and mass of the coin would change. All of these coins were produced at the Philadelphia Mint. According to Wikipedia, at the time the half-cent coin was discontinued, the coin had more purchasing power than a dime did in the year 2000. Based on the Consumer Price Index, the one half cent coin would have a value of $.14 in 2016.

Unusual US Coinage
Coins Worth Less Than A Cent Are Technically Called “Milles”. This Coin Has A Value Of Five Milles.

Half-Cent Varieties.

The first variety of the half-cent coin is known as the Liberty Cap Left and was only issued in the year 1793. The second iteration of the coin is known as the Liberty Cap Right. Both coins featured Lady Liberty wearing a cap. The coins are so named because in the 1793 design of Lady Liberty faces left, and in the other design which was produced from 1794 to 1797, Lady Liberty faces right.

The next variety of the half-cent coin was produced from 1800 to 1808 and is known as the Draped Bust. The Classic Head variety was produced from 1809 to 1836. The final design variety was issued from 1840 to 1857 and is known as the Braided Hair variety. The 1809 Classic Head variety is the most common of these coins while the 1796 Liberty Cap Right is the rarest of the US half-cent coins.

Unusual US Coinage : The Two-Cent Coin.

Several years after the last half-cent coin was minted the Civil War engulfed the United States. As a result, people began to distrust the paper currency. Therefore, coins of all types were hoarded. This essentially meant that making small purchases became very difficult. As a relief, the United States Mint began production of the two-cent piece in  1864. The coin was produced until 1873.

The two-cent piece was composed of 95% copper and 5% tin and zinc. The coin had a diameter of 23 mm and a mass of 6.22 g. Also unique to this coin, is the fact that this was the first coin to bear the motto. “IN GOD WE TRUST”. Other ideas for the motto included “In God Is Our Trust” and “God Our Trust” and “God and Our Country”, among others.

Unusual US Coinage

The End Of The Two-Cent Coin.

For a variety of reasons, the two-cent coin was not very popular. Coin production dropped off a high of over 19 million circulation strikes in 1864 to only 1100 of the coins being produced in 1873. New legislation deemed that 1873 was the last year these coins were produced. Since the coins proved to be unpopular, the United States Mint ended up redeeming and melting large quantities of the two-cent coin. Ironically, however, just 10 years after the coin was discontinued the United States Post Office actually decreased the price of a stamp to two cents. Perhaps the two-cent coin would have found popularity.

Unusual US Coinage : Own Rare Coins.

The point I’m trying to make here should be relatively obvious. First of all, if you were to come across a half-cent coin or two-cent coin without a doubt you would instantly know that these coins were worth more than just pennies. You may expect a rare US coin from this era to be rather expensive. You would be correct. Some of these coins can sell for tens of thousands of dollars.

ITM Trading is an authority in the rare coin market. ITM Trading has a strategy in place which allows our clients to utilize rare United States gold and silver coins for both financial protection and financial growth. Call ITM Trading today and see how this strategy can help protect your financial portfolio.