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Newcastle Numismatic Society Inc 

Notice Board

Notice Board


Posted on July 28, 2013 at 12:00 AM

U.S.A Coinage

The new USA citizens used the bartersystem for the exchange of goods etc. There were no coins available except forvarious foreign coins such as the widely traded Spanish real dollars.


The newly signed constitution allowedcongress to coin money. The first Coinage Act was passed on the 2ndApril 1792, and established the United States Mint to oversee all mintoperations. The first employees included an engraver, an assayer and chiefcoiner. All employees by law had to post a $10,000 bond to be considered forthese positions. The first coins minted were: -

·       $10gold eagle with 17.5g of pure gold

·       $5gold half eagle with 8.75g of pure gold

·       $2.50quarter eagle with 4.37gof standard gold

·       $1dollar with 27g of pure silver

·       HalfDollar with 13.5g of standard silver

·       QuarterDollar with 6.74g of standard silver

·       Dimes,spelled “dismes” until 1800’s had 2.7g of silver

·       Halfdimes with 1.35g of standard silver

·       Onecent with 17.1g of Copper

·       HalfCent with8.55g of copper

The Treasury Seal that was developedremains even today.


In the 19th century thegold/silver ratio was altered to bring the value of the gold into sync with themarketplace and its relative value to silver. The 1834 Coin Act increased thevalue of gold, increasing the value of gold, increasing the ratio of gold/silverto about 1:16. In 1861 Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase was encouraged toinscribe “In God We Trust” on coins. Congress approved and it was first used onthe 2 cent coin of 1864. The inscription was expanded to gold and silver coinsand with the passage of the 1865 Act: all coins were approved with “in God Wetrust” without further Congressional approval.


The most significant event of the 20thcentury occurred because of the shortage of silver. Under President Johnson,the 1965 Coin Act was passed that eliminated silver from certain coins.Quarters and dimes saw the complete elimination of silver content and the halfdollar’s content was reduced from 90% to 40%. Silver was replaced with alloysof copper, zinc, manganese and nickel. All newly n=minted coins had a 1964 datefor a period of time. Mint marks were also eliminated for a period of fiveyears, serving to remove and identification features of the newer coins and to preventtheir removal from circulation.


Today in the United States the mintissues new coins fairly regularly. Occasionally special coins are issued as acommemorative or collector’s item. The Coin Act of 2005 saw commemorative coinsthat recognised all prior Presidents begin issue in 2007. Even though they arelegal tender they are not specifically meant for casual use.


By A.M


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