My Two Cents On United States Two Cent Pieces will take you back to the days of the United States Civil War. A torn country had used it's copper supply for ammunition and it was a necessary thing to reduce the weight of the copper cent.
The Act of Congress on April 22nd 1864 reduced the weight of the cent, changed the composition by adjusting the alloys and allowed for a two cent coin to be produced.
This coin holds the prestige, of being the first coin minted in the United States, bearing the "In God We Trust" motto. This became popular, due to the large increase in religious beliefs during the Civil War.
One of the short issues in the US Mint's history, the two cent piece was only coined from 1864 until 1872. 1864 and 1865 were struck in large quantities and are very common today. Later issues were limited in production and are hard to come by now in any grade.
The 1864 coin has two distinct varieties. The small motto and the large motto. Small motto coins, are very rare. The D in the motto on the large variety is very narrow and tall. The small motto has a short stubby D. The T in trust is also spaced away from the ribbon on the large motto version.
In 1867 there was a double die struck. This happens, when the main die has moved during the manufacturing process and creates a doubled image. This coin carries an extra premium, being popular with error collectors.
From 1870 on limited mintages make the coin rare and hard to obtain. There were less then a million made from each year and in 1872 the last circulation strikes were produced.
Two cent pieces were minted in 1873, but only in proofs, for collectors. The mintages were very small, only a total of 1,910 proofs, are estimated to have been produced. This coin is not considered part of a two cent year set, as it was never made for circulation.
There is also an open 3 and a closed three, variety of the 1873 proof. The open three version is said to be a rare strike of this coin.
All of these pieces were struck at the Philadelphia Mint. They have a plain edge and are 23 millimeters in diameter, and the metal composition is .950 copper and 0.50 tin and zinc.
The existence of this coin, is a direct result of an internal conflict, that threw the United States into a war torn existence.
Over a hundred years ago, a very short lived, short mintage coin was introduced. Today the same coin is virtually unknown. Many Americans are unaware that this coin was ever made in the United States.
This series, is not a widely collected series, in the world of coin collecting. The limited availability and exorbitant price of the later issues makes the completion of a set an expensive task.
Most collectors that seek out these coins, are type set collectors and they will use an 1864, or 1865 coin, to serve that purpose, as these are the common low priced issues.
One can find two cent pieces, in local coin shops or on the Internet. eBay lists them every day. The later dates, however, will cost a pretty penny. No pun intended.
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