Coinage Act of 1965

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The Coinage Act of 1965, Pub.L. 89–81, 79 Stat. 254, enacted July 23, 1965, eliminated silver from the circulating dimes and quarter dollars of the United States and diminished the silver content of the half dollar from 90% to 40%. This act was in response to coin shortages caused by the rising price of silver in terms of a devaluing U.S. dollar.

In addition to the above provisions, for which it is best known, the act:

  • Allowed the Secretary of the Treasury to continue to strike 90% silver coins for up to five years, until the Secretary determined there was an adequate supply of clad coins. This authority was exercised through 1966, though the coins were dated 1964.
  • Forbade the minting of silver dollars for five years.
  • Gave the Secretary broad discretion to enter into contracts to assure an adequate supply of clad coins, without regard to public procurement laws.
  • Established a Joint Commission to make recommendations regarding coin and currency.

"United States Clad Coinage" by Ginger Rapsus (Bowers and Merena, 1992) is the standard reference book on the changes to U.S. coinage in 1965.

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