US Coins

Proof 1864 Small Motto 2-cent piece realizes $54,050

Stack’s Bowers Galleries offered several major collections as official auctioneer of the June Whitman Coin and Collectibles Expo in Baltimore. Part II of the Blue Moon Collection, featuring a broad range of collector-friendly coins that had been off the market for a generation, joined the collection of Robert Warner Wolfe and a group of Hard Times tokens from the collection of company co-founder Q. David Bowers. The June 22 to 25 Whitman Expo is the smallest of the three Whitman shows held at the Baltimore Convention Center, as many collectors and dealers wait for the big American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money (this year in Denver) to make big purchases. 

Here's one of three coins that we are highlighting from the Stack’s Bowers Galleries offering:

The Lot:

1864 Small Motto 2-cent piece, Proof 65 brown

The Price:


The Story:

The 2-cent denomination was short-lived, starting in 1864 where the motto “In God We Trust” appeared for the first time on a U.S. coin, and ending with Proof-only coins in 1873. In 1864 two sizes of the motto were used — on the rarer Small Motto subtype, the first T in TRUST is close to the ribbon crease at the left.

An unusual example of “machine doubling”We examine an unusual example of ‘machine doubling’: Another column in the July 24 Coin World examines a VAM marriage that deserves better.

Stack’s Bowers opines, “A classic rarity, the 1864 Small Motto two-cent piece is one of the most elusive post-1858 Proofs struck in the United States Mint,” explaining, “In addition to the size of the lettering, this variety is identifiable by doubling to the word WE.”

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While the exact population is unknown, it is estimated that around 20 to 30 Proof 1864 Small Motto 2-cent pieces survive, of which this is one of the finest. From the Blue Moon Collection, it has an ownership history that traces back to collector David Proskey, circa 1908 to 1910, and former owners include Emery May and Ambassador R. Henry Norweb Sr. and Reed Hawn. The PCGS Proof 65 brown rarity sold for $54,050 at the June 22 offering of the Blue Moon Collection.

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