Coins of Change: A Journey Through Key Moments in U.S. Coin History

Colonial Period Coinage

Before the U.S. Mint was established in 1792, a mix of foreign and domestic coins, including Spanish milled dollars and British pounds, circulated during the Colonial Period and the Revolutionary War​​.

Coinage Act of 1792

This act established the U.S. Mint and regulated the coinage of the United States, introducing decimal coinage and a variety of coins including the copper cent and silver dollar​​.

Introduction of the Fugio Cent in 1787

The first one-cent coin suggested by Benjamin Franklin, known as the Fugio cent, marked the beginning of U.S. currency​​.

Barber Coinage (1892-1916)

Charles E. Barber's designs for dimes, quarters, and half dollars dominated U.S. coinage, with the Barber quarter lasting until 1916​​.

End of Gold Coinage (1933)

Executive Order 6102 halted the minting of gold coins, shifting the U.S. from a gold standard and marking the end of gold coinage for general circulation​​.

Introduction of the Lincoln Cent (1909)

Featuring Abraham Lincoln, this was the first U.S. coin to depict a historical figure and the first to include the motto "In God We Trust"​​.

Silver Certificates and the Transition to Copper-Nickel Clad Coinage (1964-1976)

The move from silver to copper-nickel coins marked a significant change in the composition of U.S. coinage, reflecting economic and material considerations​​.

Gold $1, $3, and Stella Coins (1849-1889)

The introduction of gold $1 and $3 coins and the unique Stella pattern coin highlight the diversity and experimentation in U.S. coin history​​.

Commemorative Gold Coins (1892-1983)

Commemorative coins like the Columbian Expo half dollar and Panama-Pacific exposition pieces showcase the art and history celebrated through U.S. coinage​​.

Progressive Era Redesign (Early 1900s)

President Theodore Roosevelt's push for artistic coin designs led to iconic pieces like the Saint-Gaudens double eagle and the Indian Head eagle, elevating the aesthetic quality of American coinage​​.