What Coins Were The
First American Coins?

Proclamation coins, the first American coins, The earliest coins in circulation prior to 1792 were the then current coinage of England and Spain of the period with the Spanish Milled Dollar and its divisions of half and quarter as the most accepted.

Gold and Silver coins were indeed scarce and were required for payments overseas so as they would accumulate they would disappear again overseas.

Private mints Massachusetts produced the first coins of the Americas in 1852 and continued for 30 years. They were primarily shillings and were quickly adopted by the local population. Not that they would get many. One of these shillings folded into a V shape was believed to ward off witches. Today many of these coins bear the wear marks of having been previously folded.

In Massachusetts in 1786 and 1787 were produced the first coins of cent and half cent values.

A paper currency was also issued in Massachusetts as well to provide much needed small change sizes in both pounds and shillings and Dollars. These notes are called continental currency.

First US Mint,In 1792 the newly formed government started looking at patterns produced for possible future coinage. Several coins were struck in various metals.

The first US minted American coins came in 1793 with the introduction of half cent and large cents along the line of their British counterparts. All other denominations soon followed.

Use of trade tokens From the early 1830’s until the late 1850’s commerce was growing faster than the production of coins from the new mint and it was not able to meet demand.

Tokens mostly from England freely circulated with the copper cents and half cents of the period to provide the medium necessary for commerce to develop properly.

They were accepted because they were of a similar weight and size.

Use of tokens during the civil war.During the civil war copper coins for small change became so scarce because of copper hording that commerce was again nearly halted.

This practice was taken to the extreme in New York where a ware house floor collapsed due to the enormous amount of copper cents being stored on it.

Private tokens again came into the market place to fill this void and circulated freely as money.

The federal government responding to this great shortage and issued paper notes in small change sizes to be used as change to facilitate the business sector.

These notes are now called fractional currency issues.

Counterfeit Coins in CirculationThe Indian head penny of 1904 was counterfeited in very large quantities and no one knows how many. The counterfeiter was so good that he made these coins for some considerable time and they circulated freely without any suspicion. It is said that you cannot tell the mint issue from the counterfeit.

At the time no one considered that it would be viable either which allowed it to continue so long. Clearly some people will work on a very small margin. I would like to see examples of both coins together.

Mint products: Unfortunately most of the American coins produced for collectors and investors at the US mint today are made to make the mint money and not you money.

Today it is highly unlikely that current purchases of newly minted American Coins of Proof or Uncirculated coins would keep up with inflation.

Gold and Silver bullion coins are likely to rise with the gold and silver price however but you must always consider the premium paid over the bullion value with these coins as an investment.

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