Designer: James Barton Longacre
Weight: 6.2 grams
Diameter: 23 millimeters
Content: 95% copper 5% other
|1873 ||Proofs 600
U.S. Two Cent Coin 1864 - 1873
The two cent piece was authorized by Congress on April 22, 1864 by the Coinage Act.
Starved for coinage of any kind during the Civil War, Americans readily embraced the
two cent piece when it first appearanced in 1864. Hoarders and speculators joined by
millions of frightened Americans had set aside every coin they could get causing a
shortage. Mint officials reasoned that a two cent coin might help releave the shortage.
Acceptance and mintage levels both fell off dramatically after the war as coins that
had been hoarded during the war began to reappear in circulation.
Typical Two Cent Coin
The two cent coin hold two destinctions, it was the first U.S. coin to have the
motto IN GOD WE TRUST on it. The second destinction was: It was and is the least
successful coin in U.S. history. Production of the coin started out with nearly 20
million coins and over a ten year period, dropped to 600 proofs. This was a gage
of its popularity. While all two-cent coins are of the same basic type, several
die varieties exist. The most important variation is the "Small Motto" and "Large
Motto" varieties of 1864 as seen it the example above.
Large and Small Motto Example
1873 "Closed 3" two cent