Coin Keeper's Blog

12 Dec 2021

American Two Cent Piece

Coins-United States | Coin Keeper

A two-cent coin and a twenty-cent cent piece were proposed in 1806 by Connecticut senator Uriah Tracy. He proposed that it would be made out of billion, or silver. Tracy’s legislation failed in the House of Representatives in 1806 and 1807.

A different proposal for a two cent piece was passed in 1864. This two cent piece was made with French Bronze (95% copper with the remainder tin and zinc.) These coins were the first coin to bear the moto “In god we trust”. Several other motoes were considered. Among them were; “God Our Trust”, “God and Our Country”, and “Our God and Our Country”. The obverse depicted the Longacre version of the Great Seal of the United States. The date was positioned under the shield. The reverse of the coin had the words “2 cents” positioned inside of a wheat wreath. The words “United States of America” was depicted wrapping around the outside of the wreath.

The dates on the coins were punched into the dies by hand. As a result, there are many varieties that can be collected including the 1865/4 and the 1869/8 overdates.
Note: a die is one of the metal presses that punch the design onto the coin. There are two used; one for the obverse (front), and one for the reverse (back).

Initially it looked like the two cent piece had been accepted by the public, and would be successfully circulated. Other new coins joined the two cent piece in circulation; the three cent piece and the nickel five-cent piece. There still weren’t very many silver coins in circulation at this point, so these coins fulfilled the demand for small change.

After the large mintage of just under twenty million in the first year, the demand for the 2 cent coins dropped. The only reason the public accepted the two cent denomination in the first place was because of the shortage of coins during the Civil War. Once the war ended and regular coinage began to appear again in circulation, demand for the 2-cent coin dropped dramatically.

In 1873, Philadelphia Mint Chief Coiner, Archiblad Loudon Snowden, complaind that the “3” in the date looked like an eight. In response, William Barber re-engraved the date, opening the arms of the “3”wider. This created the “Close 3” and the “Open 3”. The mint stopped making the two cent coins that same year.

Large quantities of two-cent pieces were withdrawn from circulation. Approximately 17,000,000 of the two-cent pieces issued had been repurchased by the Treasury by 1909. These coins were melted, and remade as one-cent pieces. A bill for a two-cent piece bearing the portrait of Theodore Roosevelt passed the Senate, but was never struck.



Level 6

Nice series! Interesting blog, enjoyed it! ; )

I have one from 1864, but not the valuable one.

I. R. Bama

Level 5

One more of these and I will have a complete set. Guess which one? Lol!


Level 6

I really like the "odd" denominations. Nice blog. Thanks.


Level 5

I have 1 or 2 of these coins. I got them because they were “different” than the coins you see now days. Great blog and thanks for sharing.


Level 7

Nice coin. Never got into collecting them I do have a few. Thanks for the info.


Level 6

One of my favorite coins


Level 4

Nice story. Thanks for info.


Level 5

Great series to collect. Wish I had a few of them. A great numismatic item. Thanks

AC Coin$🌎

Level 6

Beautiful coin 1865 great blog . Thanks for sharing . Welcome again

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