Monday, March 4, 2013

Reverse designs proposed by Longacre

Reverse designs proposed by Longacre included one with a number 5 within a circle of thirteen stars, each separated from the next by rays. Another reverse design featured the numeral within a wreath.[11] Treasury Secretary Hugh McCulloch, acting on Pollock's recommendation, selected the shield design for the obverse, Sony VAIO VPCF24M1E battery or "heads" side, and the stars and rays design for the reverse. Pollock did not show McCulloch the Lincoln design, believing it would not be well received in the South. According to numismatic author Q. David Bowers, Longacre's obverse design is "one of the most patriotic motifs in American coinage".[13] Sony  VAIO VGN-FZ31M Battery Based on the coat of arms from the Great Seal of the United States of America, Longacre's design focused on the shield, or escutcheon as a defensive weapon, symbolizing strength and self-protection through unity. The upper part of the shield, or "chief", symbolizes Congress, while the 13 vertical stripes, or "paleways" symbolize the states; Sony Vaio VGN-FZ19VN Battery consequently the entire escutcheon symbolizes the strength of the federal government through the unity of the states.[14] The crossed arrows, whose ends are visible near the bottom of the shield, symbolize nonaggression, but imply readiness against attack. The laurel branches, taken from Greek tradition, symbolize victory.[14] Sony Vaio VGN-FZ39VN Battery In heraldic engraving, vertical lines represent red, clear areas white and horizontal lines blue, thus the escutcheon is colored red, white and blue and is meant to evoke the American flag. Bowers does not consider the reverse design an artistic work, but one which is purely mechanical, obtained by punching characters and devices into a steel hub.[13] Sony Vaio VGN-FZ39VN Battery The new coins proved difficult to produce; due to the hardness of the planchet, the coins were not of high quality and the life of the striking dies was brief. The design of the coins was widely criticized, with Wharton describing the shield design as suggesting "a tombstone surmounted by a cross and overhung by weeping willows."[15] Sony Vaio VGN-FZ31ZR Battery The American Journal of Numismatics described it as "the ugliest of all known coins".[15] More seriously, the reverse design reminded many of the "stars and bars" motif of the defeated Confederate States.[10] The rays were eliminated from the design in early 1867, in the hopes of eliminating some of the production problems.[16] Sony Vaio VGN-FZ31SR Battery The transition to the new design was to occur on February 1, 1867, but it is likely the mint used up the remaining dies with the old design in the interest of economy.[17] The design change created confusion among the population, with many people assuming one design or the other was acounterfeit, and the Mint considered abandoning the shield design entirely. Sony Vaio VGN-FZ31ER Battery Seeking alternatives to the difficult-to-work copper-nickel alloy, in June 1867 Longacre proposed that the five-cent piece be struck in aluminum. The new Mint director, Henry Linderman, objected to the proposal, stating that the price and supply of aluminum were as yet uncertain, and that the metal was too expensive to use in a minor coin. Sony Vaio VGN-NR31E/S Battery Numismatic historian Don Taxay, in his history of the United States Mint and its coins, noted that Linderman had proposed legislation increasing the proportion of nickel in the alloy to a third despite having earlier opposed the use of nickel in coins. Taxay suggested that Linderman was most likely influenced by Wharton and the metal's other advocates.[18] Sony Vaio VGN-NR31ER/S Battery By late 1869, enough nickels, as the coin came to be called, had been produced to meet the needs of commerce, and production dropped off.[19] The new coins tended to accumulate in the hands of merchants beyond the legal tender limit, but banks refused to accept them beyond the one-dollar maximum. Sony Vaio VGN-NR31J/S Battery Storeowners were forced to discount the coins to brokers.[10] Postmasters, compelled by law to accept the coins, found that the Treasury would not accept them as deposits except in lots of $100, in accordance with the authorizing statute.[20] In 1871, Congress alleviated the problem by passing legislation allowing the Sony Vaio VGN-NR31MR/S Battery Treasury to redeem unlimited quantities of nickels and other low-denomination coins when presented in lots of not less than $20.[10] It would not be until 1933, long after the shield design passed from the scene, that the nickel was made legal tender without limit.[19] The Mint Act of 1873 ended the production of the half dime.[21] Sony Vaio VGN-NR31S/S Battery Despite the abolition, the silver pieces continued to circulate in the West, where silver or gold coins were preferred, and the nickel was disliked, throughout the remainder of the 19th century.[10] The act also gave the Mint Director the authority to suspend production of any denomination if additional coins were not needed. Sony Vaio VGN-NR31SR/S Battery Improved economic conditions, combined with low silver prices, brought large quantities of hoarded silver coinage, including half dimes, into circulation beginning in April 1876.[22] In late 1876, production of the Shield nickel was halted under the 1873 act.[23] No Shield nickels were struck in 1877 or 1878, excepting proof specimens for collectors.[10] Sony Vaio VGN-NR31Z/S Battery As the Treasury had a large stock of nickels in storage, only small numbers were struck over the next few years; full-scale production began again on December 12, 1881. The 1880 nickel, with only 16,000 pieces struck for circulation, remains the rarest non-proof Shield nickel today. The Shield nickel series has yielded a large number of varieties. Howard Spindel, Sony Vaio VGN-NR31Z/T Battery a leading expert on Shield nickels, notes that Shield nickel dies produced far fewer coins than other coin dies, as the dies wore out so fast that the Mint was continually under great pressure to produce new ones. According to Spindel, many dies were hastily and carelessly produced, producing numerous minor varieties.[25] Sony Vaio VGN-NR31ZR/S Battery Bowers points to the 1868 nickel as "a playground for repunching [repunched dates], errors, and the like".[25] Specialists have found more than sixty different doubled die varieties, caused by misalignment when the heated die was repeatedly pressed against the hub to transfer the design. Sony Vaio VGN-NR38E/S Battery There are several different kinds of repunched dates, including a variety in which the numeral "1" is much smaller than usually found on the Shield nickel.[26] As with many denominations of United States coins, there are two major varieties of the 1873 piece. The initial variety, known as the "close 3" or "closed 3" was struck first. Sony Vaio VGN-NR38M/S Battery These coins led to a complaint by the chief coiner, A. Loudon Snowden, to Pollock, who was again director of the Mint. Snowden stated that the numeral "3" in the date too closely resembled an "8". The Mint prepared new date punches, in which the arms of the 3 did not curl around toward the center, creating the second variety, the "open 3".[27] Sony Vaio VGN-NR38S/S Battery The final year of production saw an overdate, 1883/2, with a visible "2" under or near the digit "3". This variety was caused by the use of 1882-dated dies which were not destroyed at the end of the year, but were instead repunched with a four-digit logotype, "1883". Five different dies are known to have been so reused, and Bowers estimates a mintage of 118,975 pieces. Sony Vaio VGN-NR38Z/S Battery Spindel estimates that only 0.2%–0.3% of the pieces have survived to the present. The 1867 redesign of the reverse had not solved the problems of short die life and poor striking;[29] with a view to a redesign, pattern coins were struck in 1868 and 1871,[30] but the Shield nickel remained in production.[29] Sony Vaio VGN-NR38Z/T Battery Charles E. Barberbecame chief engraver in 1880, and the following year was asked to produce uniform designs for the nickel, the three-cent piece, and a proposed copper-nickel cent. While the redesign of the two lower denominations did not occur, in 1882, Barber's design for the nickel, Sony Vaio VGN-NR31E/S Battery with a Liberty head on the obverse and the Roman numeral "V" on the reverse, was approved. The following year the Barber design replaced the Shield nickel.[31] Shield nickels dated 1883 had already been coined by the time the Barber design was ready, and Mint officials desired to discourage speculation. Sony VPCW11S1E/P Battery Accordingly, they kept the shield design in production for several months side by side with what became known as the Liberty Head nickel. Almost a million and a half Shield nickels were struck in 1883.[32] Coinage of the Shield nickel was ended on June 26, 1883. Sony VPCW11S1E/P Battery Shield nickel proof mintages from before 1878 are modern estimates and may vary—for example, Bowers estimates 800–1,200 for the 1866 piece, while Peters estimates 375+.[35] The issue is complicated by the fact that restrikes were made of proofs, sometimes years after the inscribed date. Sony VPCW11S1E/T Battery Mint officials, despite what Bowers terms "official denials (a.k.a. lies)", reused dies which had supposedly been destroyed to strike pieces for favored collectors or dealers. This practice led to incongruous pieces, with a dated obverse mated with a reverse not placed in use until years later.All pieces struck at the Philadelphia mint, without mintmark. Sony VPCW11S1E/W Battery With production of nickels lagging in the late 1870s, and with minimal strikings of the copper-nickel three-cent piece, Wharton sought to increase the use of nickel at the Mint. The bronze cent represented a major portion of the Mint's production, and Wharton began to lobby for the piece to be struck in copper-nickel, as it had been from 1857 until 1864. Sony VPCW12S1E/P Battery In 1881, this lobbying led Philadelphia Mint Superintendent Archibald Loudon Snowden to order Mint EngraverCharles Barber to produce uniform designs for a new cent, three-cent piece, and five-cent piece.[31] Snowden required that the new coins depict the head of Liberty with the legend LIBERTY and the date, Sony VPCW12S1E/T Battery with the nickel's reverse to have a wreath of wheat, cotton, and corn around a Roman numeral "V" for "5", to denote the denomination.[33] Under the proposal, the nickel would retain its weight of 5 grams (0.18 oz), but its diameter would be increased to 22 millimeters (0.87 in).[34] Sony VAIO VGN-NR21E/S Battery Barber duly produced the required designs.[34] Snowden eventually decided against a new cent or three-cent piece, but Barber continued work on the nickel, with the size adjusted to 21.21 millimeters (0.835 in).[33] When specimens were sent to Washington for routine approval by Treasury Secretary Charles J. Folger, to Snowden's surprise, they were rejected. Sony VAIO VGN-NR21J/S Battery The secretary, on review of the coinage statutes, had realized that the laws required "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" to appear on the reverse, not the obverse where Barber had placed it. Barber modified his design accordingly, and the coin was ready for striking in early 1883.[35] Sony VAIO VGN-NR21S/S Battery However, by then, Shield nickels dated 1883 had already been coined. To ensure these pieces would not be hoarded for their rarity, Mint officials kept the two designs in production side by side for several months.[36] Criminals soon realized that the new nickel, which lacked the word "CENTS", Sony VAIO VGN-NR21S/T Battery was close in size to the five-dollar gold piece, and if they were to plate the nickel with gold, it might be passed for five dollars.[37] Some coins were even given a reeded edge by fraudsters, making them appear more like the gold coins.[38] The Mint halted production of the new coins; production of Shield nickels continued. Sony VAIO VGN-NR11Z/T Battery Barber was told to modify his work, which he did, moving other design elements to accommodate the word "CENTS" at the bottom of the reverse. The revised nickel was issued on June 26, 1883, the date on which production of the Shield nickel was finally stopped. The public promptly hoarded the "centless" nickels,[39] Sony VAIO VGN-NR11Z/S Battery believing the Treasury Department intended to recall them, and that they would become rare.[40] The Liberty Head nickel was heavily struck during its 30-year run, except during economic downturns in 1885–1886 and in 1894, when only small numbers were struck.[41][42] In 1890, Congress ended production of the three-cent piece, Sony VAIO VGN-NR11S/S Battery leaving the five-cent coin as the only one in copper nickel. That year, Congress also allowed the Secretary of the Treasury to authorize the redesign of United States coins, if the former design had been struck for at least 25 years. Although the nickel and silver dollar had been redesigned within the previous quarter-century, Sony VAIO VGN-NR11M/S Battery a provision in the latter act made them eligible for immediate redesign. In 1896, pattern nickels were struck for the first time since 1885, when experimental, holed coins had been tested; however, no redesign took place. Coin-operated machines to vend food, for amusement, and for gambling became popular in the 1890s. Sony VAIO VGN-SR11M Battery Such machines could be placed on otherwise unused floor space in businesses, required little maintenance, and brought in money for owners. Beginning about 1898, coin-operated mechanical pianos also became popular. The Mills Novelty Company was a leading producer of such devices; Sony VAIO VGN-SR11MR Battery by 1906 it was producing machines ranging from a mechanically played violin to fortune-telling devices. While some machines took cents or other denominations, the nickel was the coin of choice for these machines.[46] Among the innovations in business caused by the use of the nickel in coin-operated machines was the automat, Sony VAIO VGN-SR19VN Battery in which patrons would serve themselves by inserting a coin (initially a nickel, though by the 1950s a higher denomination was needed) into a mechanism, turning a handle, and removing a sandwich or dessert. These restaurants were first established in Germany, but were popularized in the United States by, among other firms, Horn & Hardart. Sony  VGP-BPS13 Battery A type of business which took its name from the coin was the nickelodeon cinema, where a nickel bought admission to view a series of one-reel short films, generally about 12 minutes in length, which ran continuously from early afternoon until late at night, with the patron free to remain as long as he liked. Sony  VAIO VGP-BPS13A/B Battery Although another denomination gave the penny arcade its name, the nickel was commonly used there as well.[47] Few nickels had circulated in the western states before the 1880s, which preferred only silver and gold; interest in the new Liberty Head design had led to increasing use of nickels there. Sony  VAIO VGP-BPS13B/B Battery Good economic conditions and high demand for nickels for use in coin-operated devices caused the piece to circulate throughout the nation by 1900. That year, Mint Director George E. Roberts called on Congress to quintuple the Mint's appropriation to purchase base metals for striking into nickels and cents. Sony  VAIO VGP-BPS13/S Battery At the time, statutory restrictions permitted production of cents and nickels only at Philadelphia; Roberts' request that Congress allow striking at the other mints was granted in 1906. The Denver and San Francisco Mints began striking nickels in 1912. The Liberty Head nickel was replaced after 1912, and initially there was no indication that 1913-dated pieces with that design existed. Sony  VAIO VGP-BPS13A/S Battery In December 1919, a coin dealer, Samuel W. Brown, placed advertisements in coin publications, offering to buy 1913 Liberty Head nickels. The following August, Brown appeared at the annual American Numismatic Association (ANA) convention bearing such a piece.[50] Sony  VAIO VGP-BPS13B/S Battery

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