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United States Coinage for the Philippine Islands: An Introduction by JAA USA/Philippines Collection

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  • Member: Seasoned Veteran

Greetings fellow Collectors Society members. Today's Journal entry is the first in a twenty-one week series that I will be posting on the United States coinage for the Philippine Islands. Each week I will describe in detail one of the twenty slots that compose a NGC USA-Philippines Type Set.


United States coinage for the Philippine Islands is one of the most interesting and historically important series of U.S. coins.


After the United States defeated Spain in the Spanish-American war of 1898, the Philippines, along with Puerto Rico, became United States possessions. Although regular U.S. coins and paper money were used in Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories, the economy of the Philippines was too poor to use the U.S. dollar. In 1902 a bill was signed by President Theodore Roosevelt authorizing a new and distinct coinage to be struck for use in the United States Territory of the Philippines. The Philippines is the only U.S. possession for which a separate coinage was ever produced.


The "Peso" was established as the basic economic unit for the new coinage and paper money. The official valve for the Philippine Peso was established at 50 Cents U.S. This exchange rate remained constant from 1903 through 1946.


In addition to the silver Peso minor silver coins were struck in Fifty Centavos, Twenty Centavos, and Ten Centavos and base medal coins were struck in Five Centavos, One Centavo, and Half Centavo denominations. The coins were designed by Philippine artist Melicio Figueroa and engraved by Charles Barber.


Except for proof issues the Half Centavo was discontinued after 1904. Rising silver prices necessitated a reduction in the size, weight and fineness of the four silver coins starting in 1907. In order to avoid confusion with the reduced size Twenty Centavos the size and weight of the Five Centavos was reduced in 1930.


In 1935 the Philippines were granted Commonwealth status and in 1936 the Manila Mint produced a set of three coins to commemorate the occasion. In 1936 the common reverse design of all USA-Philippine coins was changed to reflect the new Commonwealth status.


U.S./Philippine coins were issued from 1903 through 1945 (USA-Philippines proof coins were only produced for five years; 1903 through 1906 and again in 1908). U.S./Philippine coins were struck at the Philadelphia Mint from 1903 through 1908 and the San Francisco Mint from 1903 through 1919. In 1920 a United States Branch Mint was established in Manila. The Manila Mint produced all of the U.S./Philippine coinage from 1920 through 1941. The Manila Mint was the only United States branch mint ever established outside the continental limits of the United States. The Manila mint was destroyed during World War ll. 1944 and 1945 U.S./Philippine coins were struck at the Philadelphia, Denver or San Francisco Mints.


Unlike other colonial powers the U.S. always had intentions of giving the Philippine Islands full independence once the basis for good government was established. In 1935 a Constitution for the Philippines was approved and the Philippines were granted Commonwealth status. On July 4th 1946 the Republic of the Philippines became a free and independent nation. The U.S. issued coins remained in use in the Philippines until the mid 60's.



To visit my award winning (2011 Best Presented Set Award) USA-Philippines Type Set click here: http://coins.www.collectors-society.com/registry/coins/SetListing.aspx?PeopleSetID=51257&Ranking=all


An expanded edition of my USA-Philippines Type Set is found in my Custom USA-Philippines Type Set: http://coins.www.collectors-society.com/WCM/CoinCustomSetView.aspx?s=9238


The primary difference between the two sets is that my Custom Set includes three additional slots to accommodate the 1928-M Twenty Centavos MULE, the Wartime Alloy One Centavo, and the Wartime Alloy Five Centavos coins. Another difference between the two sets is that several slots in this set have been upgraded to display coins with a higher technical grade and better eye appeal than their counterpart in my Competitive Type Set.


The attached picture shows the United States Manila Branch Mint circa 1920. To learn more about the history of the U.S. Manila Mint and the coins and medals produced there visit my "United States Manila Mint" Custom Registry Set at: http://coins.www.collectors-society.com/WCM/CoinCustomSetView.aspx?s=1113



See more journals by JAA USA/Philippines Collection

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