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150 Years of Small Change

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People lined the streets in front of the Philadelphia Mint on May 25, 1857 so that they can trade their foreign coins for newly minted Flying Eagle small cents. The scene must have pleased Mint Director James Ross Snowden, whose push for the coinage law passed by congress on February 21, 1857 allowed him to drive out all foreign coins from circulation.


When Snowden became Mint Director in 1853, he was faced with the issue that the price of copper and the increasing labor costs were making the large cent uneconomical to make. Snowden also knew that for the nation to continue to thrive, the lower denomination foreign coins that were still being used in the United States had to be removed from the economy. more...


Scott hi.gif

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