1864 – 1873
The US Two Cent coin was the first coin to include the motto “In God We Trust”.
Two cent coins were very short lived being minted only from 1864 until 1873. However, even though the series was only struck for ten years, acquiring a complete collection would be quite a challenge.
During the first year of production slightly less than 20 million Two Cent coins were minted. During the following years the mintage was reduced every year until finally, in 1872, only 65,000 examples were produced. In 1873 there were no Two Cent peices struck for general circulation, but there was a Proof of which only around 1,100 were made.
The two-cent coin was produced in the United States from 1864–1873 with decreasing mintages throughout that time. The two-cent piece was made of 95% copper with tin and zinc making up the remainder. It was very slightly smaller than a modern U.S. quarter. The two-cent piece was designed by James B. Longacre, the Chief Engraver of the United States Mint, and was the first coin of the United States to bear the motto “In God We Trust.”
The obverse of the Two Cent coin features the Union Shield with two larger arrows in an “X” behind it. The shield is encricled on the top and sides with olive branches and above the shield is a ribbon with the words “IN GOD WE TRUST”
The reverse side of the Two Cent coin has the numeral “2” above the word “CENTS” in the center encircled with a wreath of wheat. The words “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” run in an arc from left to right above the wreath.
The same Coinage Act that ended the minting of the Two Cent Coin in 1873 also served to eliminate the Half Dime and changed the composition of the Three Cent Peice from silver to copper and nickel. During the 1970s the United States actually considered bringing the Two Cent peice back into production, but an Act was never passed.
There were no design changes made during the production of the Two Cent coin, but there are several varieties. The most notable variety is with the 1864 which was struck with both a “Small Motto” and a “Large Motto”. The “Small Motto” variety is the rarest and most difficult to obtain. There are also some doubled dies, errors caused by cracked dies, and other error varieties out there.
Two Cent Coin Specifications
Minted: 1864 – 1873
Diameter: 23.0 mm
Weight: 6.221 g
Composition: 95% Copper, 5% Tin, 5% Zinc
Designer: James Barton Longacre
Mintages of the US Two Cent Coin:
1866 – 3,177,000
1867 – 2,938,750
1868 – 2,803,750
1870 – 861,250
1871 – 721,250
1872 – 65,000
1873 – Only Proofs were struck approx. 1,100
Written by David Slone for CoinCollectorGuide.com, Copyright 2008 all rights reserved.