US Coins

Week of Feb. 14 to 20

Highlights of the week of Feb. 14 to 20 include the end of U.S. fractional currency, Venezuela re-denominates coinage, President Nixon approves national Bicentennial medal and National Sculpture Society pans cent reverse design change.

Numismatic events of the week include:

Feb. 14

1799, Rufus King reports to New York City Mayor Richard Varick on source of counterfeits of the city’s 1790 municipal scrip issue; 1851, full-scale ingot production begins at San Francisco Assay Office; 1874, Rep. E. Crossland (Kentucky) addresses Congress on the inequality of distribution of national bank circulation; 1978, President Carter signs legislation into law authorizing the Capitol Historical Society to issue an annual medal commemorating the 200th anniversary of an outstanding historic event or personality during the revolutionary period, (the annual series ended in 1991).

Feb. 15

1814, President James Madison appoints Adam Eckfelt as chief coiner at federal Mint; 1874, Henry Hering, sculptor who modeled mentor Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ concepts for coinage in 1907, born; 1876, release suspended of fifth and final issue of fractional currency ceases, according to U.S. Treasurer James Gilfillan; 1972, President Richard Nixon signs legislation authorizing official national Bicentennial medal; 2007, Venezuela President Hugo Chavez announces redenomination of the country’s coins and paper money effective Jan. 1 following.

Feb. 16

1782, Continental Congress committee resolves to recommend that a Mint be established; 1916, Bureau of Engraving and Printing engraver Marcus Baldwin visits Library of Congress and National Gallery to study Abraham Lincoln portraits in preparation for engraving the large Lincoln portrait for the bureau’s “Series of the Presidents.

Feb. 17

1776, issue date of only Continental Currency containing fractional notes; 1862, Postmaster Henry Cleveland of Shushan, N.Y., circulates cardboard scrip for 1 cent; 1913, Philadelphia Mint commences coining Indian Head 5-cent coins; 1956, Numismatic Association of Southern California holds first convention; 1967, “Banknotes,” a song by Barry Paterson, Ricky Kemp and Keith Herd copyrighted.

Feb. 18

1818, Pikes Peak gold coiner John Parsons born; 1861, Jefferson Davis, who appears on Confederate 50-cent and $50 bills, elected Confederate president; 1959, Commission of Fine Arts receives critical review of new Lincoln Memorial cent design from National Sculpture Society President Adlai S. Hardin, who calls the design change “an act of desecration.”

Feb. 19

1670, Louis XIV authorizes copper coinage for French settlements in New World; 1915, Senate confirms R.W. Wooley as Mint director; 1954, Christian Herald Magazine endorses Matt Rothert’s campaign to place “In God We Trust” on U.S. paper money; 1970, Mint Director Mary Brooks instructs Philadelphia Mint Superintendent Nicholas G. Thornson to produce $10 trial strikes using the ill-fated 1965-era Peace dollar dies.

Feb. 20

1777, Continental Congress committee on Treasury recommends Mint be established for coining money; 1902, Chicago dealer Ben G. Green holds his first mail-bid sale.

Fred Reed has been a collector and writer for many years. If you have additions or comments, you can reach him at or P.O. Box 118162, Carrollton, TX 75011-8162 and include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

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