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Sounds like some of the novice collector questions....

5 posts in this topic

[United States Mint, Philadelphia]

 May 25, 1872

 H. Denney

Providence, R.I.


            Your letter of the 23rd inst. Enclosing a two-cent coin, has been received.

            The coin is genuine, but it is 1-1/2 grains light, from having been cleaned with acid, and reissued from the Mint by order of the Secretary of the Treasury.

            Yours Respectfully,

            James Pollock, Director

                        per J.C.P.

 The coin is herewith returned to you.

Edited by RWB
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The Philadelphia Mint was required to clean and brighten minor coins that had been redeemed, then reissue them to banks and businesses requesting the coins. New, current date coin, were made only if absolutely necessary. People who wanted just one or two pieces were directed to buy proofs.

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  • Member: Seasoned Veteran

Minor coins had very limited legal tender value and tended to accumulate in the hands of  businesses. Banks did not want large numbers in deposits and could refuse them above their legal tender limit. The solution was a law passed in 1871 that allowed for their redemption in paper money by the Treasury when presented in quantities of not less than, I believe, $25. The T then cleaned and reissued them in lieu of new coins, which accounts for the plunge in mintages of small coins starting that year.

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The Mints used the reduction in minor coin production to have a round of employee "reduction in force" events. After a few months, the number of employees at Philadelphia had been cut by 25%. Other mints were less affected since they handled only gold and silver.

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