In continuing with the ‘Odd Denominational’ coins, let’s dive deeper into 2-Cent Pieces.
The 2-Cent Piece ran from 1864 to 1873 and was designed by James B. Longacre. The two-cent piece, struck in bronze like the new Indian Head cents, made its debut under the Mint Act of April 22, 1864. Coins of all kinds were scarce in circulation at the time, due to hoarding. The outcome of the Civil War was uncertain, and Americans desired “hard money.” With that, the Government minted millions of two-cent pieces in 1864 and 1865, with 19.8 million and 13.6 million respectively. After 1865 the mintage numbers declined rapidly due to the once hoarded Indian Head cents becoming available again and to the new nickel three-cent coins being introduced in 1865, which I will talk more about next month. The mintage numbers continued to decrease through 1872 with only 65,000 minted and only Proofs were struck in the final year of the two-cent piece.
As with the mintage numbers you can find the 1864 and 1865 in an uncirculated condition relatively easy, after which the availability declines sharply, especially for the issue of 1872. Of the 9 years of circulated coins there are only 12 varieties, in 1864 the more common one is the large motto running a couple hundred dollars in mid-uncirculated grade, and then there is the small motto which will run a couple thousand dollars in the same mid-uncirculated grades. The only other varieties in this group of coins are the 1867 and 1869 Double-Die Obverses. In the Proof versions of this coin they still had the large and small motto varieties of the 1864 and then in 1873 they had a Closed 3, which is the original strike, and then the restrike version had an Open 3.