Well worn Copper's Blog

03 May 2019

There was almost a 1921 Theodore Roosevelt 2 cent piece

| Well worn Copper

Following the 1919 death of Theodore Roosevelt a bill was almost passed which would have created a Roosevelt two-and-a-half cent piece. The proposal gathered support in Congress, and by 1921 had been modified to a 2 cent coin, which was believed to help bookkeeping and accounting. The coin was to be struck in a mixture of 95% zinc and 5% copper. If this sounds familiar to anyone, it is the exact composition of our current cent! There is a great article in the June 1921 issue of The Numismatist debating the merits of such a piece. While many wanted to honor Roosevelt, there were some who felt his likeness would have been belittled on such a minor coin. And particularly since Roosevelt did so much to improve American coinage in his lifetime, the thought of placing his likeness on a zinc coin would have dishonored him. Apparently it was well known that a zinc/copper mixture would appear silvery at first, but quickly blacken once circulated. Eventually the bill died and nothing became of it. And Theodore Roosevelt would have to wait until his image was placed on the reverse of a 2016 quarter.



Level 4

I would not mind seeing President T. Roosevelt on any future coin, special or an upgrade.


Level 5

Roosevelt deserved to have a coin with his likeness on it. If any of our current coinage is ever updated I wouldn't mind to see him on one of them.


Level 6

Good blog. By the way, the metal content is incorrect. As lots of our fellow collectors have pointed out.


Level 4

I really enjoyed this blog. ... Thank you, very much!

Not the composition of our cent today, but a small detail, I never knew this, thats for sharing I will have to do some more research on this.

What interests me is how many new coins and different denominations Congress tried to pass, only to have the treasury and mint stomp down. The treasury and mint never seem to want to make anything new.


Level 4

Actually, our current cent is 97.5% zinc and 2.5% copper. They changed it in 1982. Other than that, this coin sounds awesome and you taught me something in this blog! I wish the bill didn't fail, that would've been a cool coin to have.


Level 6

I put the % in by mistake. According to the 2020 red Book it's : (CORE) .992 zinc, .008 copper with a copper plating of .975 zinc and .025 copper.


Level 6

Nice article. I'l be reading that old Numismatist to learn more. That is why we want sources. By the way, Current Lincoln cents are 97.5% zinc and only .025 % copper. been that way since the middle of 1982..I agree with the reason, you stated, that we didn't coin a 2 1/2 cent. Thanks.

Opps! Thank you, I stand corrected.


Level 6

I had not heard this before. Thanks

Very interesting.... Great blog!


Level 6

Interesting, I had never read of this before. Thank You for bringing this to light. The medal you use is also very attractive.


Level 7

There were so many chosen for coins and never made it. Even the twenty dollar bill was supposed to be changed . The cent makeup has changed since 1982. Thanks for your research.

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