History of the United States dollar
The history of the United States Dollar refers to more than 240 years since the Continental Congress of the United States authorized the issuance of Continental Currency in 1775. On April 2, 1792, the United States Congress created the United States dollar as the country's standard unit of money; the term dollar had been in common usage since the colonial period when it referred to eight-real coin used by the Spanish throughout New Spain. After the American Revolutionary War began in 1775, the Continental Congress began issuing paper money known as Continental currency, or Continentals. Continental currency was denominated in dollars from $1⁄6 to $80, including many odd denominations in between. During the Revolution, Congress issued $241,552,780 in Continental currency. By the end of 1778, this Continental currency retained only between 1⁄5 to 1⁄7 of its original face value. By 1780, Continental bills – or Continentals – were worth just 1⁄40 of their face value. Congress tried to reform the currency by removing the old bills from circulation and issuing new ones, but this met with little to no success.
By May 1781, Continentals had become so worthless. Benjamin Franklin noted that the depreciation of the currency had, in effect, acted as a tax to pay for the war. In the 1790s, after the ratification of the United States Constitution, Continentals could be exchanged for treasury bonds at 1% of face value. Congress appointed Robert Morris to be Superintendent of Finance of the United States following the collapse of Continental currency. In 1782, Morris advocated the creation of the first financial institution chartered by the United States; the Bank of North America was funded in part by bullion coin, loaned to the United States by France. Morris helped finance the final stages of the war by issuing promissory notes in his name, backed by his own money; the Bank of North America issued notes convertible into gold or silver. On July 6, 1785, the Continental Congress of the United States authorized the issuance of a new currency, the US dollar. However, runaway inflation and the collapse of the Continental currency prompted delegates at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787 to include the gold and silver clause in the United States Constitution, preventing individual States from issuing their own bills of credit.
Article One states they were prohibited to "make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts." Some people use this clause to argue. The United States Mint was created by Congress following the passing of the Coinage Act of 1792, it was tasked with producing and circulating coinage. The first Mint building was in Philadelphia the capital of the United States; the Mint was placed within the Department of State, until the Coinage Act of 1873 when it became part of the Department of the Treasury. The Mint had the authority to convert any precious metals into standard coinage for anyone's account with no seigniorage charge beyond refining costs. After the creation of the U. S. dollar, the fledgling American administration of President George Washington turned its attention to monetary issues again in the early 1790s, under the leadership of Alexander Hamilton, the Secretary of the Treasury at the time. Congress acted on Hamilton's recommendations, with the Coinage Act of 1792 that established the dollar as the basic unit of account for the United States.
The word dollar is derived from Low Saxon cognate of the High German Thaler. The most circulated and available currency, used by common Americans, at this time, was the Spanish Peso known as the "Spanish milled dollar", valued for its high silver content. In the early 19th century, the intrinsic value of gold coins rose relative to their nominal equivalent in silver coins, resulting in the removal from commerce of nearly all gold coins, their subsequent private melting. Therefore, in the Coinage Act of 1834, the 15:1 ratio of silver to gold was changed to a 16:1 ratio by reducing the weight of the nation's gold coinage; this created a new U. S. dollar, backed by 1.50 grams of gold. However, the previous dollar had been represented by 1.60 g of gold. The result of this revaluation, the first devaluation of the U. S. dollar, was that the value in gold of the dollar was reduced by 6%. Moreover, for a time, both gold and silver coins were useful in commerce. In 1853, the weights of U. S. silver coins were reduced.
This had the effect of placing the nation on the gold standard. The retained weight in the dollar coin was a nod to bimetallism, although it had the effect of further driving the silver dollar coin from commerce. Foreign coins, including the Spanish dollar, were widely used, as legal tender, until 1857. With the enactment of the National Banking Act of 1863—during the American Civil War—and its versions that taxed states' bonds and currency out of existence, the dollar became the sole currency of the United States and remains so today. During the 19th century the dollar was less accepted around the world than the British pound. Nellie Bly carried Bank of England notes on her 1889-1890 trip around the world in 72 days. Traveling east from New York, she did not see American money until she found $20 gold pieces used as jewelry in Colombo. In 1878, the Bland-Allison Act was enacted to provide for
New Orleans Mint
The New Orleans Mint operated in New Orleans, Louisiana, as a branch mint of the United States Mint from 1838 to 1861 and from 1879 to 1909. During its years of operation, it produced over 427 million gold and silver coins of nearly every American denomination, with a total face value of over US$307 million, it was closed during most of the American Civil Reconstruction. After it was decommissioned as a mint, the building has served a variety of purposes, including as an assay office, a United States Coast Guard storage facility, a fallout shelter. Since 1981 it has served as a branch of the Louisiana State Museum. Damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, after over two years of repairs and renovations, the museum reopened in October 2007. Exhibits include instruments used by some of New Orleans' notable jazz musicians and posters, now part of the New Orleans Jazz Museum; the site is a performance venue for jazz concerts, in partnership with the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park and the private Music at the Mint organization.
The Louisiana Historical Center is located on the third floor of the building. The center includes collections of colonial-era manuscripts and maps, primary and secondary source materials in a wide range of media, it is open to anyone with an interest in Louisiana culture. The New Orleans Mint has been designated a National Historic Landmark, it is the oldest extant structure to have served as a U. S. Mint. Along with the Charlotte Mint, it is one of two former mint facilities in the U. S. to house an art gallery. The growing United States in the early 1830s experienced a shortage of coins, it is estimated. Production of silver dollars was suspended in 1804 because they were being exchanged for underweight Spanish coins in the West Indies; that left the half-dollar as the largest denomination of circulating coin being minted in the U. S. Foreign coins were being circulated in the U. S. to alleviate the shortage. The Philadelphia Mint had been the only U. S. mint until 1838, when operations began at the first branch mints.
In 1832 President Andrew Jackson had vetoed a rechartering of the Second Bank of the United States, an institution which he felt extended credit to northeastern commercial tycoons at the expense of the ordinary frontiersmen of the Old Southwest, a region with which Jackson, a Tennessean identified. In 1836 Jackson had issued an executive order called the Specie Circular which demanded that all land transactions in the United States be conducted in cash. Both of these actions, combined with the economic depression following the Panic of 1837 increased the domestic need for minted money; as a result, in 1835 the U. S. Federal Government established three branch mints: the Charlotte Mint in North Carolina, the Dahlonega Mint in Georgia and the New Orleans Mint. Dahlonega and Charlotte were in gold mining regions and these mints produced only gold coins. New Orleans was selected because of the city's strategic location along the Mississippi River which made it a vitally important center for commercial activity, including the export of cotton from the area's plantations.
Large quantities of gold from Mexico passed through its port annually. In the early 19th century, New Orleans, the fifth-largest city in the United States until the Civil War, conducted more foreign trade than any other city in the nation, it was located near to gold deposits discovered in Alabama. While the Philadelphia Mint produced a substantial quantity of coinage, in the early 19th century it could not disperse the money swiftly to the far regions of the new nation the South and West. In contrast to the other two Southern branch mints, which only minted gold coinage, the New Orleans Mint produced both gold and silver coins, in much greater quantities and total value, which marked it as the most important branch mint in the country until the San Francisco Mint began minting a large monetary value of gold coins in the mid 1850s; the Mint's location occupies a prominent place in civic history. It sits at one of the two River corners of the French Quarter, the entire city, or Vieux Carré, of New Orleans.
Under French and Spanish rule this location was home to one of the city's defensive fortifications. In 1792 the Spanish governor, Francisco Luis Héctor de Carondelet, erected Fort San Carlos here; the fort was demolished in 1821. As a general in the United States Army, Jackson's leadership had saved the city from invading British forces during December 1814 and through January 8, 1815, the date of the famous Battle of New Orleans, the last significant battle of the War of 1812; the Mint building, constructed in red brick, was designed by architect William Strickland in the Greek Revival style, like most 19th-century public buildings in the United States. Strickland was a student of the architect Benjamin Latrobe, a disciple of Neoclassicism who had helped design the United States Capitol building in Washington, D. C. Strickland himself, based in Philadelphia, had designed the Philadelphia Mint building and the Second Bank of the United States, would design the Charlotte and Dahlonega facilities, making him the architect of the first four U.
S. mint buildings. Martin Gordon supervised the building's construction, undertaken by Benjamin F. Fox, the master carpenter and joiner, John Mitchell, the master stonemason and builder. On the north façade the mint building features a central projecting Ionic portico, supported by four monum
The Philadelphia Mint was created from the need to establish a national identity and the needs of commerce in the United States. This led the Founding Fathers of the United States to make an establishment of a continental national mint, a main priority after the ratification of the Constitution of the United States; the Coinage Act of 1792 was entered into law on April 2. It proclaimed the creation of the United States Mint. Philadelphia at that time was the nation's capital; the Mint Act instituted a decimal system based on a dollar unit. David Rittenhouse, an American scientist, was appointed the first director of the mint by President George Washington. Two lots were purchased by Rittenhouse on July 18, 1792, at Seventh Street and 631 Filbert Street in Philadelphia for $4,266.67. The next day, demolition of an abandoned whiskey distillery on the property began. Foundation work began on July 31, by September 7, the first building was ready for installation of the smelting furnace; the smelt house was the first public building.
A three-story brick structure facing Seventh Street was constructed a few months later. Measuring nearly 37 ft wide on the street, it only extended back 33 ft; the gold and silver for the mint were contained in basement vaults. The first floor housed deposit and weighing rooms, along with the press room, where striking coins took place. Mint official offices were on the second floor, the assay office was located on the third floor. A photograph of the Seventh Street building taken around 1908 show that by the year 1792 and the words "Ye Olde Mint" had been painted onto the facade. Between the smelt house and the building on Seventh Street, a mill house was built. Horses in the basement turned a rolling mill located on the first floor. In January 1816, the smelt and mill houses were destroyed by a fire; the smelt house was never repaired and all smelting was done elsewhere. The mill house, destroyed, was soon replaced with a large brick building, it included a new steam engine in the basement to power the machinery.
Until 1833, these three buildings provided the United States with hard currency. Operations moved to the second Philadelphia mint in 1833, the land housing the first mint was sold. In the late 19th or early 20th century, the property was sold to Frank Stewart, who approached the city, asking them to preserve or relocate the historic buildings. With no governmental help, the first mint was demolished between 1907 and 1911. Now, only a small plaque remains to memorialize the spot. On July 4, 1829, a cornerstone was laid for the building at the intersection of Chestnut and Juniper Streets, it was designed by William Strickland. The second Philadelphia Mint, the "Grecian Temple", was constructed of white marble with classic Greek-style columns on front and back. Measuring 150 ft wide in front by 204 ft deep, it was a huge improvement over the first facility, in space as well as image. Opening in January 1833, its production was constrained by the outdated machinery salvaged from the first mint. Franklin Peale was sent to Europe to study advanced coinmaking technologies which were brought back and implemented, increasing productivity and quality.
Sold in 1902, the second mint was demolished. The cornerstone buried in 1833 was unearthed and contained a candy jar with a petrified cork stoppering it. Inside the jar were three coins, a few newspapers, a scroll with information on the first mint and the creation of the second; the site has been occupied since 1914 by 1339 Chestnut Street. The third Philadelphia Mint was built at 1700 Spring Garden Street and opened in 1901, it was designed by William Martin Aiken, Architect for the Treasury, but it was constructed under James Knox Taylor. It was a block from the United States Smelting Company, at Broad and Spring Garden Streets. In one year alone, the mint produced 501,000,000 coins, as well as 90,000,000 coins for foreign countries. A massive structure nearly a full city block, it was an instant landmark, characterized by a Roman temple facade. Visitors enjoyed seven themed glass mosaics designed by Louis C. Tiffany in a gold-backed vaulted ceiling; the mosaics depicted ancient Roman coinmaking methods.
This mint still stands intact, much of the interior is intact, as well. It was acquired by the Community College of Philadelphia in 1973. A tribute page has been created. Two blocks from the site of the first mint, the fourth and current Philadelphia Mint opened its doors in 1969, it was designed by Philadelphia architect Vincent G. Kling, who would help design Five Penn Center, Centre Square, the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, it was the world's largest mint when it was built and held that distinction as of October 2017. The Philadelphia Mint can produce up to one million coins in 30 minutes, it took three years for the original mint to produce that many. The mint produces medals and awards for military and civil services. Engraving of all dies and strikers only occurs here. Uncirculated coins minted here have the "P" mint mark, while circulated coins from before 1980 carried no mint mark except the Jefferson nickels minted from 1942–1945 and the 1979 Susan B. Anthony dollar coins. Since 1980, all coins minted there have the "P" mint mark except cents until 2017.
Tours can be taken. This takes place via an enclosed catwalk above the minting facility itself. Various video stations are p
United States dollar
The United States dollar is the official currency of the United States and its territories per the United States Constitution since 1792. In practice, the dollar is divided into 100 smaller cent units, but is divided into 1000 mills for accounting; the circulating paper money consists of Federal Reserve Notes that are denominated in United States dollars. Since the suspension in 1971 of convertibility of paper U. S. currency into any precious metal, the U. S. dollar is, de facto, fiat money. As it is the most used in international transactions, the U. S. dollar is the world's primary reserve currency. Several countries use it as their official currency, in many others it is the de facto currency. Besides the United States, it is used as the sole currency in two British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean: the British Virgin Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands. A few countries use the Federal Reserve Notes for paper money, while still minting their own coins, or accept U. S. dollar coins. As of June 27, 2018, there are $1.67 trillion in circulation, of which $1.62 trillion is in Federal Reserve notes.
Article I, Section 8 of the U. S. Constitution provides that the Congress has the power "To coin money". Laws implementing this power are codified at 31 U. S. C. § 5112. Section 5112 prescribes the forms; these coins are both designated in Section 5112 as "legal tender" in payment of debts. The Sacagawea dollar is one example of the copper alloy dollar; the pure silver dollar is known as the American Silver Eagle. Section 5112 provides for the minting and issuance of other coins, which have values ranging from one cent to 100 dollars; these other coins are more described in Coins of the United States dollar. The Constitution provides that "a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time"; that provision of the Constitution is made specific by Section 331 of Title 31 of the United States Code. The sums of money reported in the "Statements" are being expressed in U. S. dollars. The U. S. dollar may therefore be described as the unit of account of the United States.
The word "dollar" is one of the words in the first paragraph of Section 9 of Article I of the Constitution. There, "dollars" is a reference to the Spanish milled dollar, a coin that had a monetary value of 8 Spanish units of currency, or reales. In 1792 the U. S. Congress passed a Coinage Act. Section 9 of that act authorized the production of various coins, including "DOLLARS OR UNITS—each to be of the value of a Spanish milled dollar as the same is now current, to contain three hundred and seventy-one grains and four sixteenth parts of a grain of pure, or four hundred and sixteen grains of standard silver". Section 20 of the act provided, "That the money of account of the United States shall be expressed in dollars, or units... and that all accounts in the public offices and all proceedings in the courts of the United States shall be kept and had in conformity to this regulation". In other words, this act designated the United States dollar as the unit of currency of the United States. Unlike the Spanish milled dollar, the U.
S. dollar is based upon a decimal system of values. In addition to the dollar the coinage act established monetary units of mill or one-thousandth of a dollar, cent or one-hundredth of a dollar, dime or one-tenth of a dollar, eagle or ten dollars, with prescribed weights and composition of gold, silver, or copper for each, it was proposed in the mid-1800s that one hundred dollars be known as a union, but no union coins were struck and only patterns for the $50 half union exist. However, only cents are in everyday use as divisions of the dollar. XX9 per gallon, e.g. $3.599, more written as $3.599⁄10. When issued in circulating form, denominations equal to or less than a dollar are emitted as U. S. coins while denominations equal to or greater than a dollar are emitted as Federal Reserve notes. Both one-dollar coins and notes are produced today, although the note form is more common. In the past, "paper money" was issued in denominations less than a dollar and gold coins were issued for circulation up to the value of $20.
The term eagle was used in the Coinage Act of 1792 for the denomination of ten dollars, subsequently was used in naming gold coins. Paper currency less than one dollar in denomination, known as "fractional currency", was sometimes pejoratively referred to as "shinplasters". In 1854, James Guthrie Secretary of the Treasury, proposed creating $100, $50 and $25 gold coins, which were referred to as a "Union", "Half Union", "Quarter Union", thus implying a denomination of 1 Union = $100. Today, USD notes are made from cotton fiber paper, unlike most common paper, made of wood fiber. U. S. coins are produced by the United States Mint. U. S. dollar banknotes are printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and, since 1914, have been issued by t
Silver is a chemical element with symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, lustrous transition metal, it exhibits the highest electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, reflectivity of any metal; the metal is found in the Earth's crust in the pure, free elemental form, as an alloy with gold and other metals, in minerals such as argentite and chlorargyrite. Most silver is produced as a byproduct of copper, gold and zinc refining. Silver has long been valued as a precious metal. Silver metal is used in many bullion coins, sometimes alongside gold: while it is more abundant than gold, it is much less abundant as a native metal, its purity is measured on a per-mille basis. As one of the seven metals of antiquity, silver has had an enduring role in most human cultures. Other than in currency and as an investment medium, silver is used in solar panels, water filtration, ornaments, high-value tableware and utensils, in electrical contacts and conductors, in specialized mirrors, window coatings, in catalysis of chemical reactions, as a colorant in stained glass and in specialised confectionery.
Its compounds are used in X-ray film. Dilute solutions of silver nitrate and other silver compounds are used as disinfectants and microbiocides, added to bandages and wound-dressings and other medical instruments. Silver is similar in its physical and chemical properties to its two vertical neighbours in group 11 of the periodic table and gold, its 47 electrons are arranged in the configuration 4d105s1 to copper and gold. This distinctive electron configuration, with a single electron in the highest occupied s subshell over a filled d subshell, accounts for many of the singular properties of metallic silver. Silver is an soft and malleable transition metal, though it is less malleable than gold. Silver crystallizes in a face-centered cubic lattice with bulk coordination number 12, where only the single 5s electron is delocalized to copper and gold. Unlike metals with incomplete d-shells, metallic bonds in silver are lacking a covalent character and are weak; this observation explains the low high ductility of single crystals of silver.
Silver has a brilliant white metallic luster that can take a high polish, and, so characteristic that the name of the metal itself has become a colour name. Unlike copper and gold, the energy required to excite an electron from the filled d band to the s-p conduction band in silver is large enough that it no longer corresponds to absorption in the visible region of the spectrum, but rather in the ultraviolet. Protected silver has greater optical reflectivity than aluminium at all wavelengths longer than ~450 nm. At wavelengths shorter than 450 nm, silver's reflectivity is inferior to that of aluminium and drops to zero near 310 nm. High electrical and thermal conductivity is common to the elements in group 11, because their single s electron is free and does not interact with the filled d subshell, as such interactions lower electron mobility; the electrical conductivity of silver is the greatest of all metals, greater than copper, but it is not used for this property because of the higher cost.
An exception is in radio-frequency engineering at VHF and higher frequencies where silver plating improves electrical conductivity because those currents tend to flow on the surface of conductors rather than through the interior. During World War II in the US, 13540 tons of silver were used in electromagnets for enriching uranium because of the wartime shortage of copper. Pure silver has the highest thermal conductivity of any metal, although the conductivity of carbon and superfluid helium-4 are higher. Silver has the lowest contact resistance of any metal. Silver forms alloys with copper and gold, as well as zinc. Zinc-silver alloys with low zinc concentration may be considered as face-centred cubic solid solutions of zinc in silver, as the structure of the silver is unchanged while the electron concentration rises as more zinc is added. Increasing the electron concentration further leads to body-centred cubic, complex cubic, hexagonal close-packed phases. Occurring silver is composed of two stable isotopes, 107Ag and 109Ag, with 107Ag being more abundant.
This equal abundance is rare in the periodic table. The atomic weight is 107.8682 u. Both isotopes of silver are produced in stars via the s-process, as well as in supernovas via the r-process. Twenty-eight radioisotopes have been characterized, the most stable being 105Ag with a half-life of 41.29 days, 111Ag with a half-life of 7.45 days, 112Ag with a half-life of 3.13 hours. Silver has numerous nuclear isomers, the most stable being 108mAg, 110mAg and 106mAg. All of the remaining radioactive isotopes have half-lives of less than an hour, the majority of these have half-lives of less than three minutes. Isotopes of silver range in relative atomic mass from 92.950 u
The gold dollar or gold one-dollar piece is a gold coin, struck as a regular issue by the United States Bureau of the Mint from 1849 to 1889. The coin had three types over its lifetime, all designed by Mint Chief Engraver James B. Longacre; the Type 1 issue has the smallest diameter of any United States coin minted to date. A gold dollar coin had been proposed several times in the 1830s and 1840s, but was not adopted. Congress was galvanized into action by the increased supply of bullion caused by the California gold rush, in 1849 authorized a gold dollar. In its early years, silver coins were being hoarded or exported, the gold dollar found a ready place in commerce. Silver again circulated after Congress in 1853 required that new coins of that metal be made lighter, the gold dollar became a rarity in commerce before federal coins vanished from circulation because of the economic disruption caused by the American Civil War. Gold did not again circulate in most of the nation until 1879. In its final years, it was struck in small numbers.
It was in demand to be mounted in jewelry. The regular issue gold dollar was last struck in 1889. Damaged common date gold dollars tend to be worth anywhere from melt value to about US$110. In proposing his plan for a mint and a coinage system, Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton in 1791 proposed that the one-dollar denomination be struck both as a gold coin, as one of silver, representative of the two metals which he proposed be made legal tender. Congress followed Hamilton's recommendation only in part, authorizing a silver dollar, but no coin of that denomination in gold. In 1831, the first gold dollar was minted, at the private mint of Christopher Bechtler in North Carolina. Much of the gold being produced in the United States came from the mountains of North Carolina and Georgia, the dollars and other small gold coins issued by Bechtler circulated through that region, were now and seen further away. Additional one-dollar pieces were struck by Christopher's son. Soon after the Bechtlers began to strike their private issues, Secretary of the Treasury Levi Woodbury became an advocate of having the Mint of the United States strike the one-dollar denomination in gold.
He was opposed by Robert M. Patterson. Woodbury persuaded President Andrew Jackson to have pattern coins struck. In response, Patterson had Mint Second Engraver Christian Gobrecht break off work on the new design for the silver one-dollar coin and work on a pattern for the gold dollar. Gobrecht's design featured a Liberty cap surrounded by rays on one side, a palm branch arranged in a circle with the denomination and name of the country on the other. Consideration was given to including the gold dollar as an authorized denomination in the revisionary legislation that became the Mint Act of 1837; the Philadelphia newspaper Public Ledger, in December 1836, supported a gold dollar, stating that "the dollar is the smallest gold coin that would be convenient, as it would be eminently so, neither silver nor paper should be allowed to take its place." After Mint Director Patterson appeared before a congressional committee, the provision authorizing the gold dollar was deleted from the bill. In January 1844, North Carolina Representative James Iver McKay, the chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means, solicited the views of Director Patterson on the gold dollar.
Patterson had more of Gobrecht's pattern dollar struck to show to committee members, again advising against a coin that if issued would be only about a half inch in diameter. He told Treasury Secretary John C. Spencer that the only gold coins of that size in commerce, the Spanish and Colombian half-escudos, were unpopular and had not been struck for more than twenty years; this seemed to satisfy the committee as nothing more was done for the time, when a gold dollar was proposed again in 1846, McKay's committee recommended against it. Before 1848, record amounts of gold were flowing to American mints to be struck into coin, but the California Gold Rush vastly increased these quantities; this renewed calls for a gold dollar, as well as for a higher denomination than the eagle the largest gold coin. In January 1849, McKay introduced a bill for a gold dollar, referred to his committee. There was much discussion in the press about the proposed coin. McKay amended his legislation to provide for a double eagle and wrote to Patterson, who replied stating that the annular gold dollar would not work, neither would another proposal to have dollar piece consisting of a gold plug in a silver coin.
Gobrecht's successor as chief engraver, James B. Longacre, prepared patterns, including some with a square hole in the middle. McKay got his fellow Democrat, New Hampshire Senator Charles Atherton, to introduce the bill to authorize the gold dollar and the double eagle in the Senate on February 1, 1849—Atherton was chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. McKay introduced a version into the House on February 20; the dollar was attacked by congressmen from the Whig Party in the minority, on the grounds that it would be too small, would be counterfeited and in bad light might be mistakenly spent as a half dime, the coins being similar in size. McKay did not resp
The half dime, or half disme, was a silver coin, valued at five cents minted in the United States. Some numismatists consider the denomination to be the first coin minted by the United States Mint under the Coinage Act of 1792, with production beginning on or about July 1792. However, others consider the 1792 half dime to be nothing more than a pattern coin, or "test piece", this matter continues to be subject to debate; these coins were much smaller than dimes in diameter and thickness, appearing to be "half dimes". In the 1860s, powerful nickel interests lobbied for the creation of new coins, which would be made of a copper-nickel alloy; the introduction of the copper-nickel five-cent pieces made the silver coins of the same denomination redundant, they were discontinued in 1873. The following types of half dimes were produced by the United States Mint or under the authority of the Coinage Act of 1792: The half dime was one of the early coins of the U. S. Mint. Authorized by the Act of April 2, 1792, it lasted until 1873.
Until 1829 it showed no value anywhere on its reverse. The flowing hair half dime was designed by Robert Scot and this same design was used for half dollar and dollar silver coins minted during the same period; the obverse bears a Liberty portrait similar to that appearing on the 1794 half cent and cent but without the liberty cap and pole. Mintage of the 1794 version was 7,765; the obverse of the draped bust half dime was based on a sketch by artist Gilbert Stuart, with the dies engraved by Robert Scot and John Eckstein. The primary 1796 variety bears fifteen stars representing the number of states in the union. In 1797, fifteen and sixteen star varieties were produced – the sixteenth star representing newly admitted Tennessee – as well as a thirteen star variety after the mint realized that it could not continue to add more stars as additional states joined the union; the reverse bears an open wreath surrounding a small eagle perched on a cloud. 54,757 half dimes of this design were minted. Following a two-year hiatus, mintage of half dimes resumed in 1800.
The obverse remained the same as the prior version, but the reverse was revised substantially. The eagle on the reverse now had outstretched heraldic style; this reverse design first appeared on gold quarter and half eagles and dimes and dollars in the 1790s. Mintage of the series never surpassed 40,000, with none produced in 1804. No denomination or mintmark appears on the coins. Production of half dimes resumed in 1829 based on a new design by Chief Engraver William Kneass, believed to have adapted an earlier John Reich design. All coins were display no mintmark; the high circulating mintage in the series was in 1835, when 2,760,000 were struck, the low of 871,000 was in 1837. Both Capped Bust and Liberty Seated half dimes were minted in 1837; these were the last silver. The design features Liberty seated on a rock and holding a shield and was first conceived in 1835 used first on the silver dollar patterns of 1836; the series is divided into several subtypes. The first lacks stars on the obverse.
In 1838 a semicircle of 13 stars was added around the obverse border, this basic design was used through 1859. In 1853, small arrows were added to each side of the date to reflect a reduction in weight due to rising silver prices, the arrows remained in place through 1855; the arrows were dropped in 1856, with the earlier design resumed through 1859. In 1860, the obverse stars were replaced with the inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and the reverse wreath was enlarged; this design stayed in place through the end of the series. In 1978 a unique 1870-S Seated Liberty half dime became known; the Seated Liberty half dime was produced at the Philadelphia, San Francisco and New Orleans mints in an aggregate amount of 84,828,478 coins struck for circulation. See United States Seated Liberty coinage. In 1978 a coin collector surprised the coin collecting community with an 1870–S half dime, believed to have been found in a dealer's box of cheap coins at a coin show. According to mint records for 1870, no half dimes had been minted in San Francisco.
At an auction that same year, the 1870-S half dime sold for $425,000. It is believed that another example may exist—along with other denominations minted that year in San Francisco—in the cornerstone of the old San Francisco Mint. In July, 2004, the discovery coin sold for $661,250 in MS-63 in a Stack`s-Bowers auction. Canada once used silver coins of five-cent denomination. Nickel Dime Q. David Bowers, United States Three-Cent and Five-Cent Pieces: An Action Guide for the Collector and Investor. Wolfeboro, NH: Bowers and Merena Galleries, 1985. US Half Dime information by type. Half Dime Pictures