Wikipedia:Today's featured article/April 22, 2014

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1865 two-cent piece

The two-cent piece was produced by the U.S. Mint for circulation from 1864 to 1872 and for collectors in 1873. It was designed by James B. Longacre. The economic turmoil of the American Civil War caused government-issued coins, even the non-silver Indian Head cent, to vanish from circulation, hoarded by the public. One means of filling this gap was private token issues, often made of bronze. The cent at that time was struck of a copper-nickel alloy. The piece was difficult for the Philadelphia Mint to strike, and Mint officials, as well as the annual Assay Commission, recommended the coin's replacement. Despite opposition from those wishing to keep the metal nickel in the coinage, Congress passed the Coinage Act of 1864, authorizing bronze cents and two-cent pieces. Although initially popular in the absence of other federal coinage, the two-cent piece's place in circulation was later usurped by the three-cent piece and the nickel. There were decreasing mintages each year, and it was abolished by the Mint Act of 1873. Large quantities were redeemed by the government and melted. Nevertheless, two-cent pieces remain inexpensive by the standards of 19th-century American coinage. (Full article...)

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