On April 22, 1864, the Coinage Act of 1864 was passed by the United States Congress. The legislation was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln and had wide-ranging ramifications for the country’s currency system.
The Coinage Act of 1864 made significant changes to the types of coins that were produced and circulated in the United States. Most notably, it authorized the production and circulation of a new form of currency called the “two-cent piece.” This coin was created to help alleviate a shortage of small denomination coins during the Civil War.
In addition to the two-cent piece, the Coinage Act of 1864 also established the production of bronze one-cent coins to replace the older, larger copper versions that had been in circulation since the late eighteenth century. The act also authorized the production of three-cent coins, which were made of silver.
The new coins introduced by the Coinage Act of 1864 were designed with a raised rim and lettering around the edges, which made them more challenging to counterfeit than previous versions. They also featured the phrase “In God We Trust” for the first time on circulating coins.