American History And The American Civil War

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Throughout American history, the United States Mint has coined several denominations that would now be considered “odd” or “strange” by the general public: the half cent, two-cent piece, three-cent piece, half dime, twenty-cent piece, quarter eagle, three dollar piece, half eagle, eagle, and double eagle. At the time, however, many of these were seen in everyday circulation, a completely normal denomination. Each of them had a purpose behind its inception and a practical use after mintage. For example, the two cent piece was coined during and after the American Civil War to address the shortage of small denomination coinage. The three cent piece was minted to make purchasing postage more convenient, which was priced at three cents at the time. One of these denominations stands out from the rest: the twenty-cent piece. It holds the honor of being the shortest lived circulation denomination in United States history. This, however, should not come as a surprise; the denomination was doomed from the beginning. The Western Dilemma The West had a few issues that led to the inception of the twenty-cent piece, one of which was the large supply of silver. Following the passage of the Mint Act of February 12, 1873, production of the silver half dime and silver dollar ceased, reducing the demand for silver by the government. Around this time, several “large new deposits of silver were being discovered in the West,” increasing the supply of silver and decreasing its value (Anderson).

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