Informative Coin Series – U.S. TWO CENT PIECES 1864-1873

Most everyday Americans know the denominations on their coins. These include the penny, the nickel, the dime, the quarter, and the dollar. Occasionally, they even know about the Half Dollar. However, very few people that I have met in life know about a short series of coins that ran from the peak of the civil war in 1864 until the middle of the reconstruction era in 1873. This run of 9 years is so short, that the design on these coins never changed! Also, not many people know why this coin is one of the most significant coins to ever be commonly circulated in the United States, however when you find out, you will never forget.  This coin is none other than the fabled Two Cent Piece.

The history behind these mysterious coins is that when the Civil War broke out, people began hoarding coins. There seemed to be no way out of this crisis, so legislation was passed allowing for the minting of two cent coins. Then there was a problem, who would design these coins in the middle of the Civil War? In the end, the chief engraver, James B. Longacre, was selected to design these coins.  Now many of you might be saying that you heard that name before. I wouldn’t be surprised if you had. James B. Longacre is also the designer of the Indian Head Cent, the three cent piece, and the Shield Nickel.

At this point, we will all wonder what the significance of this little coin is on our nation’s coinage.  In fact, the significance of this coin is so immense that NONE of our modern day coins would be the same without it. While designing the coin, Longacre had a radical new idea. Above the shield on the coin, he added a banner. And on the banner he added the never before seen words “In God We Trust”. He thought that the war torn country needed some support from the heavens so the added this motto to the coin. Little did he know that in the next century, EVERY single United States coin would have his motto.

The design itself is very simple. On the obverse of the coin, you have the Union shield adorned with laurels. The motto “In God We Trust” is floating on a banner above the shield. Underneath the shield you have the date.  This makes for an uncluttered obverse as well as a beautiful design. On the reverse, you will see a wreath surrounding the words “2 Cents” which are the main focal points on the reverse of the coin. On the edge are the words “United States of America”.  On this coin, both sides are very simple yet elegant causing for a visually pleasing coin to look at.

You may now think that this is an extremely rare piece. Not at all! The 1864 issue alone had a mintage of 20,000,000. An 1864 coin in fine condition would have a retail value of only $25! If you really want to own an affordable piece of history, I would definitely recommend the Unique and exquisite 2 cent piece designed by the world renowned James B. Longacre.


- Mark Umansky (tzarmarko)



If you are in Toledo Ohio area you’ll be happy to find that Bedford Coin is ready to give you a free appraisal on your Two Cent Pieces & answer any questions you may have.


If you would like to know more contact you local Toledo Coin dealer , Bedford Coin or referance Wikipedia here-


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