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What are the historically important coins?

savitalesavitale Posts: 1,406 ✭✭✭✭✭

I’m trying to pick a new collecting area and I am considering something along the lines of “Historically Important Coins.” But what would be included in this set? There are many numismatically important coins, but those with clear ties to historical events are quite a bit fewer I believe. If we limit the scope to US coins, including Colonials, what examples of historically important coins would you include?

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Comments

  • Jzyskowski1Jzyskowski1 Posts: 6,651 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Well, perhaps significant dates for an important event in history. Presidents, important figures to specific issues, dates relevant to family birthdays. There’s a number of directions for sure. Good luck 👍🏼

    🎶 shout shout, let it all out 🎶

  • HigashiyamaHigashiyama Posts: 2,150 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Very interesting question. Certainly the establishment of the mint and US coinage itself represents an important historic mile stone. From that perspective examples of very early coinage such as the chain cent or the 1794 dollar or any issues in the first few years should be considered highly historic. The 1848 CAL quarter eagle is significant in many ways. Any early double Eagle is significant for a somewhat similar reason- made possible by California gold and representing the westward move of the nation. You might include a trade dollar as representing projection of American influence into the Orient. The new series introduced in 1916 illustrate a new era. The JFK half of course is commemorative in nature, but also represents an era of upheaval and change.

    Higashiyama
  • johnny9434johnny9434 Posts: 27,489 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The 3 piece bicentennial set comes to mind, fwiw

  • PerryHallPerryHall Posts: 45,392 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Civil War era coins and paper money are always a popular collectable.

    Worry is the interest you pay on a debt you may not owe.

  • seatedlib3991seatedlib3991 Posts: 498 ✭✭✭✭

    I will stick to the era I collect from:
    The war of 1812(1814 circa coins)
    The shift to steam driven coin presses 1836-1840
    the gold rush 1849
    The reduction act 1853
    The civil war 1861-1865 + addition of motto
    The panic of 1873
    The first world expo 1892

  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,859 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @savitale said:
    Great suggestions so far, keep them coming! Here's one I thought of: 1943 Steel Cent. It directly reflects the material sacrifice of the American people as a result of the war effort.

    Great thought! i added the steel cent and war nickel to the list above.

  • hfjacintohfjacinto Posts: 766 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 19, 2023 7:46AM

    There are several, I would include a lot of the ones already mentioned and a few others:
    1) the 1909 Lincoln cent. First non commerative coin to feature a president (and start us an ugly path of dead people on coins)
    2) the 1943 steel cent due to the shortage of copper.
    3) 1857 flying eagle. First official legal tender non precious metal coin.
    4) Susan b anthony dollar. First coin to feature a women (non commemorative )
    5) Pan PAC $50 gold coin. Largest $ value coin ever issued.
    6) $2.5 and $5 1908-1929 Native American head coins. First set that the design was recessed
    7) shield nickel or 3 cent nickel- first nickel coinage not worth its value in pm.

    There are many others.

  • savitalesavitale Posts: 1,406 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @seatedlib3991 said:
    I will stick to the era I collect from:
    The war of 1812(1814 circa coins)
    The shift to steam driven coin presses 1836-1840
    the gold rush 1849
    The reduction act 1853
    The civil war 1861-1865 + addition of motto
    The panic of 1873
    The first world expo 1892

    These are really helpful. Picking on this one a little more: "The shift to steam driven coin presses 1836-1840". Do we know what was the first US coin to be manufactured on a steam press? This could be representative of the arrival of steam power (and thus the industrial revolution) more broadly.

  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,859 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 19, 2023 8:01AM

    @savitale said:

    @seatedlib3991 said:
    I will stick to the era I collect from:
    The war of 1812(1814 circa coins)
    The shift to steam driven coin presses 1836-1840
    the gold rush 1849
    The reduction act 1853
    The civil war 1861-1865 + addition of motto
    The panic of 1873
    The first world expo 1892

    These are really helpful. Picking on this one a little more: "The shift to steam driven coin presses 1836-1840". Do we know what was the first US coin to be manufactured on a steam press? This could be representative of the arrival of steam power (and thus the industrial revolution) more broadly.

    Good call. I added a 1936 Gobrecht Dollar above as it's the only new design introduced in 1836.

  • Jzyskowski1Jzyskowski1 Posts: 6,651 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Here you go 😉

    🎶 shout shout, let it all out 🎶

  • savitalesavitale Posts: 1,406 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Jzyskowski1 said:
    Here you go 😉

    Interesting. I wonder if some 1836 Large Cents were struck on the steam press and some on the old presses, and if there is a way to tell the difference between them.

  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,859 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Jzyskowski1 said:
    Here you go 😉

    Nice info!

    https://www.numismaticnews.net/archive/steam-powered-presses-began-with-copper-coins

    I added a 1836 large cent to the list above because the half cents were only struck in proof that year.

    I still like the 1836 Gobrecht dollar for the arrival of the steam powered coining press because it's the first new design.

  • ShamikaShamika Posts: 18,760 ✭✭✭✭

    How about the first use of "IN GOD WE TRUST" on the 1864 two-cent piece.

    Buyer and seller of vintage coin boards!
  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,859 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 19, 2023 8:43AM

    @Shamika said:
    How about the first use of "IN GOD WE TRUST" on the 1864 two-cent piece.

    Nice point. This has to do with the Civil War as well:

    While the earliest mentions of the phrase can be found in the mid-19th century, the origins of this phrase as a political motto lie in the American Civil War, where Union supporters wanted to emphasize their attachment to God and to boost morale

    Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_God_We_Trust

  • PerryHallPerryHall Posts: 45,392 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @hfjacinto said:
    5) Pan PAC $50 gold coin. Largest $ value coin ever issued.

    >
    Actually, the 1 oz Platinum coin has a face value of $100. It's bullion but it is a legitimate legal tender US coin struck by the US Mint.

    Worry is the interest you pay on a debt you may not owe.

  • PerryHallPerryHall Posts: 45,392 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Has anyone mentioned the 1787 Fugio cent which is the first US coin?

    Worry is the interest you pay on a debt you may not owe.

  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,859 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 19, 2023 9:04AM

    @PerryHall said:
    Has anyone mentioned the 1787 Fugio cent which is the first US coin?

    It's in my list above :):+1:

  • keyman64keyman64 Posts: 15,454 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Shamika said:
    How about the first use of "IN GOD WE TRUST" on the 1864 two-cent piece.

    In keeping with what should be a separation of church and state in this country (and part of what this country was founded on), the LAST coins not to have IGWT would be more significant for many people.

    "If it's not fun, it's not worth it." - KeyMan64
    Looking for Top Pop Mercury Dime Varieties & High Grade Mercury Dime Toners. :smile:
  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,859 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 19, 2023 9:17AM

    Thanks for the great topic @savitale and ideas everyone!

    My list of coins above is up to 20 and complete for a Box of 20 now. It's similar to but has some differences from other lists.

    I tried to find significant coins tied to historical events intentionally, and not by coincidence of date of issue. I also tried to find events that are not strictly numismatic events.

    There are some duplicate events like the following when there are significant coins to include.

    • "Birth of a New Nation" (one for copper, one for legal tender)
    • Indian Removal Act for Charlote and Dahlonega gold coins
    • Steam power for 1836 cent and dollar
    • California Gold Rush for 1848 CAL quarter eagle and 2 U.S. Assay Office coins
    • Civil War: CSA Half Dollar and IGWT on two-cent piece
    • WWII steel cent and silver war nickls
  • keyman64keyman64 Posts: 15,454 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Why no mention of the first cents by the US Mint? 1792/1793?
    First Dollar in 1794

    "If it's not fun, it's not worth it." - KeyMan64
    Looking for Top Pop Mercury Dime Varieties & High Grade Mercury Dime Toners. :smile:
  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,859 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 19, 2023 9:27AM

    @keyman64 said:
    Why no mention of the first cents by the US Mint? 1792/1793?
    First Dollar in 1794

    I thought about those coins, but did not include them in my list as I think they are primarily significant from a numismatic perspective, having to deal with the Mint. The larger historical event is the Birth of New Nation to me and the Fugio and Half Disme can represent that for coppers and legal tender coins. My understanding is also that silver dollar coins were not popularly used in commerce and hence they were discontinued many times over the years.

  • PerryHallPerryHall Posts: 45,392 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @keyman64 said:

    @Shamika said:
    How about the first use of "IN GOD WE TRUST" on the 1864 two-cent piece.

    In keeping with what should be a separation of church and state in this country (and part of what this country was founded on), the LAST coins not to have IGWT would be more significant for many people.

    That would be the 1908 NM gold $10 and $20.

    Worry is the interest you pay on a debt you may not owe.

  • keyman64keyman64 Posts: 15,454 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Zoins said:

    @keyman64 said:
    Why no mention of the first cents by the US Mint? 1792/1793?
    First Dollar in 1794

    I thought about those coins, but did not include them in my list as I think they are primarily significant from a numismatic perspective, having to deal with the Mint. The larger historical event is the Birth of New Nation to me and the Fugio and Half Disme can represent that for coppers and legal tender coins. My understanding is also that silver dollar coins were not popularly used in commerce and hence they were discontinued many times over the years.

    What are your thoughts on what I posted above about the 1787 Mass Cent and 1787 Mass Half Cent? 1st Coin to bear the Denomination of CENT as established by Congress has to be significant, no?

    "If it's not fun, it's not worth it." - KeyMan64
    Looking for Top Pop Mercury Dime Varieties & High Grade Mercury Dime Toners. :smile:
  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,859 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 19, 2023 9:44AM

    @keyman64 said:

    @Zoins said:

    @keyman64 said:
    Why no mention of the first cents by the US Mint? 1792/1793?
    First Dollar in 1794

    I thought about those coins, but did not include them in my list as I think they are primarily significant from a numismatic perspective, having to deal with the Mint. The larger historical event is the Birth of New Nation to me and the Fugio and Half Disme can represent that for coppers and legal tender coins. My understanding is also that silver dollar coins were not popularly used in commerce and hence they were discontinued many times over the years.

    What are your thoughts on what I posted above about the 1787 Mass Cent and 1787 Mass Half Cent? 1st Coin to bear the Denomination of CENT as established by Congress has to be significant, no?

    To me, the denomination of "CENT" is also primary numismatic. I don't consider it on the same level as events like the Revolutionary War, the Indian Removal Act, the introduction of the steam power, the Gold Rush, the Civil War, WWI, WWII, landing people on the moon, etc.

    I'm open to adding other coins to my list but it's important for the coins to be associated with large, non-numismatic events.

  • mark_dakmark_dak Posts: 1,091 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 19, 2023 9:40AM

    I had one of these but ended up selling it a while ago. Only US issue minted by the Confederacy 1861-O Half Dollar. I think Zoins listed it in a comment above.

  • mark_dakmark_dak Posts: 1,091 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Zoins said:

    @mark_dak said:
    I had one of these but ended up selling it a while ago. Only US issue minted by the Confederacy 18561-O Half Dollar. I think Zoins listed it in a comment above.

    Very historical coin!

    I did include one in my list, with a slight difference, being the CSA name on the reverse:

    Right, both are great coins. I did well on the sale but am kind of kicking myself for letting it go. It was one of the better examples I saw from the Republic shipwreck.

    Mark

  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,859 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 19, 2023 9:55AM

    @mark_dak said:

    @Zoins said:

    @mark_dak said:
    I had one of these but ended up selling it a while ago. Only US issue minted by the Confederacy 18561-O Half Dollar. I think Zoins listed it in a comment above.

    Very historical coin!

    I did include one in my list, with a slight difference, being the CSA name on the reverse:

    Right, both are great coins. I did well on the sale but am kind of kicking myself for letting it go. It was one of the better examples I saw from the Republic shipwreck.

    Mark

    Both are very prominent coins. Yours is a nice specimen!

    Selling rare things is always hard. One has to think carefully about how one will feel after selling as you may never get it back.

  • oldabeintxoldabeintx Posts: 1,629 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I suppose any commemorative coin that truly commemorates an important historical event counts, although that may be a stretch. It would be a pretty long list. My personal type sets include (among others) my own family history, coinage history, non-us coins that were used in the colonies, and colonials. Among colonials one should include some of the foreign coins that are traditionally collected as colonials and certainly state examples.

    My litmus test in this category is coins, medals and tokens that I bore my family, especially my grandchildren, with as teaching devices.

  • savitalesavitale Posts: 1,406 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @oldabeintx said:
    I suppose any commemorative coin that truly commemorates an important historical event counts, although that may be a stretch. It would be a pretty long list. My personal type sets include (among others) my own family history, coinage history, non-us coins that were used in the colonies, and colonials. Among colonials one should include some of the foreign coins that are traditionally collected as colonials and certainly state examples.

    My litmus test in this category is coins, medals and tokens that I bore my family, especially my grandchildren, with as teaching devices.

    I had considered this as well: "I suppose any commemorative coin that truly commemorates an important historical event counts". I think what is attractive to me are coins that are contemporary with the event of interest; within a couple years maybe since it takes some time for coins to be issued. The Ike Dollar with the moon landing is a good example. 50-year or 100-year anniversary coins maybe not. But, as they say, collect what you like!

  • savitalesavitale Posts: 1,406 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 19, 2023 10:39AM

    Territorial Gold maybe? A product of Western Expansion? I don't really know anything about these. Are they actually coins?

  • oldabeintxoldabeintx Posts: 1,629 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @savitale said:
    Territorial Gold maybe? A product of Western Expansion? I don't really know anything about these. Are they actually coins?

    Great examples and very relevant. Expensive, so I haven't really gone there yet. I do have some California fractional gold of 1854, which will have to do for now. I also have some Charlotte and Dahlonega gold, An interesting set is $5 Liberty coins illustrating all 19th C mintmarks. Coinage history with deep stories.

  • BigtreeBigtree Posts: 197 ✭✭✭✭✭

    One option could be to choose a place with personal significance. For example, I have a small set of historically significant coins for the San Francisco area (where I am from).

    It includes the first pioneer coin made in CA (Norris $5), the first denom struck at the SF mint (1854-S $20), the first denom struck at the Granite Lady (1874-S $20), an 1870-S eagle (my favorite obtainable denom from the ones in the infamous Granite Lady cornerstone), and a few to commemorate historic events (1915 Pan Pac, 1925 CA Commem, 1936 Bay Bridge).

    For my set I tried to focus on coins that have some combination of numismatic and historical significance. So I didn’t include coins like the 1909-S VDB or 1913-S 25c, which are numismatically but not historically significant.

  • oldabeintxoldabeintx Posts: 1,629 ✭✭✭✭✭

    You limited this topic to coins, but there are some tokens of which a few samples tell a great story. Civil War and Hard Times for sure. Reluctant to open this up to exonumia as there are no doubt many, many tokens and medals of historical interest; however, the CW and HT tokens circulated as coins during shortages.

  • savitalesavitale Posts: 1,406 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @oldabeintx said:
    You limited this topic to coins, but there are some tokens of which a few samples tell a great story. Civil War and Hard Times for sure. Reluctant to open this up to exonumia as there are no doubt many, many tokens and medals of historical interest; however, the CW and HT tokens circulated as coins during shortages.

    Yes, this is true. Tokens and medals are much more dynamic than coins and can respond to historical events frequently and with alacrity. So personally I'm not ready to go there yet as the scope is probably immense. I'm a recovering Registry Set owner. :p

  • lkeneficlkenefic Posts: 7,816 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Interesting suggestions in this thread... I included California fractional gold in my Box of 20. I also included a couple of Hard Times tokens. I'm probably going to include a Fugio Cent for first federal contract coinage

    Collecting: Dansco 7070; Middle Date Large Cents (VF-AU); Box of 20;

    Successful BST transactions with: SilverEagles92; Ahrensdad; Smitty; GregHansen; Lablade; Mercury10c; copperflopper; whatsup; KISHU1; scrapman1077, crispy, canadanz, smallchange, robkool, Mission16, ranshdow, ibzman350, Fallguy, Collectorcoins, SurfinxHI, jwitten, Walkerguy21D, dsessom.
  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,859 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @lkenefic said:
    Interesting suggestions in this thread... I included California fractional gold in my Box of 20. I also included a couple of Hard Times tokens. I'm probably going to include a Fugio Cent for first federal contract coinage

    California fractional coins are significant to me as well. I used the U.S. Assay coins in my list as they are more closely associated with the U.S. government for the same period event, but if one were to support more privately minted pieces, it can certainly work.

  • lkeneficlkenefic Posts: 7,816 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Zoins said:

    @lkenefic said:
    Interesting suggestions in this thread... I included California fractional gold in my Box of 20. I also included a couple of Hard Times tokens. I'm probably going to include a Fugio Cent for first federal contract coinage

    California fractional coins are significant to me as well. I used the U.S. Assay coins in my list as they are more closely associated with the U.S. government for the same period event, but if one were to support more privately minted pieces, it can certainly work.

    I included the fractionals because they're much more approachable than an 1848 CAL. quarter eagle and I'm also doing gold in my Box of 20 by denomination. That way, I can include the $3 that's not on the gold page of a 7070.

    I also have an 8-Reales in the Box too since it circulated among the colonies in early US history... mine is dated 1794 and was chop marked at some point in its long life.

    Collecting: Dansco 7070; Middle Date Large Cents (VF-AU); Box of 20;

    Successful BST transactions with: SilverEagles92; Ahrensdad; Smitty; GregHansen; Lablade; Mercury10c; copperflopper; whatsup; KISHU1; scrapman1077, crispy, canadanz, smallchange, robkool, Mission16, ranshdow, ibzman350, Fallguy, Collectorcoins, SurfinxHI, jwitten, Walkerguy21D, dsessom.
  • breakdownbreakdown Posts: 1,952 ✭✭✭✭✭

    1838-O half might be first branch mint coin. A dream coin for me.

    "Look up, old boy, and see what you get." -William Bonney.

  • carabonnaircarabonnair Posts: 1,388 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @PerryHall said:

    @keyman64 said:

    @Shamika said:
    How about the first use of "IN GOD WE TRUST" on the 1864 two-cent piece.

    In keeping with what should be a separation of church and state in this country (and part of what this country was founded on), the LAST coins not to have IGWT would be more significant for many people.

    That would be the 1908 NM gold $10 and $20.

    I always thought it was the 1938-D Buffalo nickel.

  • PerryHallPerryHall Posts: 45,392 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @carabonnair said:

    @PerryHall said:

    @keyman64 said:

    @Shamika said:
    How about the first use of "IN GOD WE TRUST" on the 1864 two-cent piece.

    In keeping with what should be a separation of church and state in this country (and part of what this country was founded on), the LAST coins not to have IGWT would be more significant for many people.

    That would be the 1908 NM gold $10 and $20.

    I always thought it was the 1938-D Buffalo nickel.

    You're right. I stand corrected. B)

    Worry is the interest you pay on a debt you may not owe.

  • PerryHallPerryHall Posts: 45,392 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The 5 oz America the Beautiful series is historically significant as both the largest and heaviest US coin.
    The Type 1 gold dollar is the smallest US coin at 13 mm while the 3 cent silver is the lightest US coin.

    Worry is the interest you pay on a debt you may not owe.

  • rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This is a really great thread for new collectors and others as well. Will help those who are looking for a focused collection, with various themes mentioned above. Cheers, RickO

  • NeophyteNumismatistNeophyteNumismatist Posts: 871 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Personally, I would replace the 1943-D nickel with a 1942-P (T2) nickel. You get the same wartime nickel, but the 1942 also offers the first P mint mark placed on a US coin.

    I am a newer collector (started April 2020), and I primarily focus on U.S. Half Cents and Type Coins. Early copper is my favorite.

  • goldengolden Posts: 9,050 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Zions absolutely nailed it!

  • coinkatcoinkat Posts: 22,764 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I would take a look at World History so coins such as the Godless Florin could be included... among others.

    Experience the World through Numismatics...it's more than you can imagine.

  • pmh1nicpmh1nic Posts: 3,142 ✭✭✭✭✭

    There is historically important, coins if I showed a non-collecting friend would get their interest, versus historically important that would grab the interest of collectors. If I tell most of my friends "this coin was part of the Eliasberg collection" they would yawn while many members of this forum would appreciate the history. I guess it depends on where in between these extremes a person considers a coin historically important.

    The longer I live the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice is it possible for an empire to rise without His aid? Benjamin Franklin

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