Two Cents 1873 (Proof only), Coin from United States - detailed information

Two Cents 1873 (Proof only), Coin from United States (withdrawn 1873)
CoinTwo Cents 1873 (Proof only)

The United States two-cent coin was a short-lived denomination of a United States dollar. The two-cent piece, designed by James B. Longacre, was produced for circulation from 1864 to 1872 and for collectors in 1873, with decreasing mintages each year as other minor coins such as the nickel (5¢) proved more popular. It was abolished by the Mint Act of 1873.

The economic turmoil of the American Civil War caused government-issued coins, even the non-silver Indian Head cent, to vanish from circulation, hoarded by the public. One means of filling this gap was private token issues, often made of bronze. Despite opposition, Congress passed the Coinage Act of 1864, authorising bronze cents and two-cent pieces.

Although initially popular in the absence of other federal coinage, the two-cent piece's place in circulation was usurped by other non-precious metal coins which Congress subsequently authorised, the three-cent piece and the nickel. It was abolished in 1873; large quantities were redeemed by the government and melted. Nevertheless, two-cent pieces remain inexpensive by the standards of 19th-century American coinage.

The coins were only struck by the Philadelphia Mint, with no mint mark.

In 1873, 2 Cents were only issued as proofs for collectors, with mintage of 600 only. There was a later restrike, with mintage of 500, which differs by the shape of the 3 in the date. This was the last year the denomination was minted.

MintPhiladelphia Mint Mint MarkNo mint mark Total Mintage1,100
United States / Two Cents 1873 (Proof only) - obverse photo

The obverse design shows, within a beaded border, Longacre's version of the Great Seal of the United States.

His design focuses on the shield, or escutcheon, as a defensive weapon, signifying strength and self-protection through unity. The upper part of the shield, or "chief", symbolises Congress, while the 13 vertical stripes, or "paleways", represent the states (originally, there were 13 states); consequently the entire escutcheon symbolises the strength of the federal government through the unity of the states.

The crossed arrows represent non-aggression, but imply readiness against attack. The laurel branches around, taken from Greek tradition, symbolise victory. In heraldic engraving, vertical lines represent red, clear areas white and horizontal lines blue, thus the escutcheon is coloured red, white and blue and is meant to evoke the American flag.

The ribbon above the shield is inscribed with the national motto IN GOD WE TRUST; below the shield, the date of issue: 1873.

Obverse Inscription IN GOD WE TRUST 1873
United States / Two Cents 1873 (Proof only) - reverse photo

Within a beaded border, the reverse contains the value and denomination 2 CENTS at centre, surrounded by an ornate wheat wreath.

Around above, the name of the country: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

EdgePlainEdge InscriptionNone
Two Cents 1873 (Proof only): Known varieties
Variety Open 3, Proof Restrike
Images United States / Two Cents 1873 (Proof only) / Open 3, Proof Restrike - obverse photo United States / Two Cents 1873 (Proof only) / Open 3, Proof Restrike - reverse photo
Mintage Issued: 500 (included in total)
Royal Mint
Royal Mint
Two Cents 1873 (Proof only): Details
CountryUnited States
CurrencyUS Dollar
Coin TypeTwo Cents
SymbolShield of the Coat of Arms of the United States
Face Value2 (x Cent)
Circulation MintageNone
Total Mintage1,100
CurrentNo; withdrawn 1873
DesignerJames Barton Longacre
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
OrientationCoin Alignment (Axis 6)
Size23.000 mm
Thickness1.800 mm
Mass6.220 g
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Two Cents 1873 (Proof only): Photos
Shield Two Cents 1873 - Open 3
Copyright: PCGS
Shield Two Cents 1873 - Open 3
Copyright: PCGS
Notes: Open 3 in date.
Shield Two Cents 1873 - Closed 3
Copyright: PCGS
Shield Two Cents 1873 - Closed 3
Copyright: PCGS
Notes: Closed 3 in date.
Two Cents 1873 (Proof only): Catalogue Reference IDs
SourceReference ID
Krause, Standard Catalog of World CoinsUnited States KM# 94