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A little 1794 cent fun.

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Comments about circulation of 1794 cents.


December 19, 1794

House of Representatives


Mr. Boudinot drew the attention of the House for some time, by a series of the most interesting observations. He went to the Bank of the United States to enquire [sic] for cents. He was told that there was none to be had, because the bank could not get them from the mint. He then went to the mint, where he was informed that cents were not coined faster, because the officer of the mint did not know where to get them vented [i.e., out or into circulation]! He said that this mint cost twenty-four thousand dollars per annum, and every cent coined there cost the public several cents, though he could not exactly tell how many. In New Jersey far more cents had been coined in a few months than had ever been coined all together, at the Bank of the United States, and this had been done at one-fourth part of the expense which the mint of the United States had cost.


Several other members advered [sic] to the prodigious inconvenience which is felt all over the union for want of copper coin; and it appeared to excite some curiosity, on what foundation the officers of the mint have said that they could not get the cents vented. It was remarked by Mr. W. Smith, that, except as to Philadelphia, the mint is of little or no use whatever. The cents given out never go farther than the city….


The State Gazette of North Carolina, January 8, 1795. p.1.]


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Not surprising. England had the same problem with their copper coinage. The government wouldn't pay to ship halfpence out of Middlesex county. London was well supplied but businesses in the other counties either had to pay to have them shipped to them, or had to go to London to pick them up in person. (Starting in 1797 they did begin paying cartage to ship the cartwheel pennies and tuppence.)

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