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2 cents coins of United State, the coin that few talk about but is worth a lot

All about the United States 2 Cents Coins. A real unknown that can cost a lot of money.

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It is quite common for the 2 cent coin to be overlooked in listings of collectible U.S. coins.

This is because it was a low mintage coin, and even at the time it was not that popular.

Yet, there are several interesting things about this coin that I would love to share with you in this article.

If you are interested in the world of collectible ancient coins you must read this text. I assure you that you will discover some interesting topics and some surprise, unless you are a great connoisseur of North American numismatics.

When were 2-cent coins minted?

The 2-cent coins were officially minted between the years 1864 and 1872, by the United States mint. In 1873 a new mintage was made, but this time only for collectors.

Earlier in U.S. history, proposals to mint 2-cent coins had been made in 1806 and 1836, but were rejected in both cases. 2-cent coins were not approved until 1864, under the Coinage Act of 1864 signed by then-President Abraham Lincoln.

The reason for approving a new 2-cent coin was that the existing 1-cent coins ceased to circulate. Americans began hoarding coins of different denominations during the American Civil War period, fearing that once the war was over, government bonds and bills would lose their value. So, to solve the lack of circulating currency, a 2-cent copper coin is proposed (once again).

Old 2 cent coin
Old 2 cent coin

According to reports at the time, the first run of 20 million pieces in 1864 was well received by the public. However, over time, interest in this particular coin waned.

The number of coins minted each year declined, and by the end of the decade it was accepted that it was no longer necessary to continue minting 2-cent coins that no one was demanding.

On February 12, 1873, the minting of U.S. 2-cent coins was ended. Only proof specimens were minted this year, which are currently of great value due to their rarity.

As a curious fact, in 1920 a new mintage of 2-cent coins, with the portrait of Theodere Roosevelt, was recommended to the U.S. Congress, but was never approved.

Features of the 2 cents

The design of American 2-cent coins remains fairly stable from the beginning of their production in 1864 until the last ones minted in 1873. Of course, it is possible to detect variations over the years, but for the most part these are small details that only the most knowledgeable numismatists will notice.

The designer of the 2-cent coins was James Barton Longacre, who died in 1869, 4 years older than his coin.

With a diameter of 23 millimeters, and minted in an alloy of 95% Copper and other metals, each piece weighed approximately 6.2 grams. That is, it is a fairly light and small coin.

None of the minted and known pieces bear mintmarks, as they all came out of the Philadelphia Mint. Therefore, there was no need to differentiate between mints.

Are 2-cent coins really valuable?

Some 2-cent coins can sell for considerable sums of money. But only those that meet certain characteristics that make them exceptions, just as happens with other old U.S. coins.

For example…

Collectors and numismatists have discovered two variants of the same 2-cent coin dated 1864. One variant known as the “Little Motto” and the other the “Big Motto.” The name is given by the difference in size between the letters just of the motto.

2 Cent Coins "Great Motto"
“Great Motto” 2 Cent Coins
2-Cent Coins "Little Motto"
“Little Motto” 2-Cent Coins

Well, those of 2-cent “Little Motto” coins are considered a rarity, as they correspond to a prototype, and not the model that was eventually put into circulation later on.

While the “Large Motto” coin sells for approximately $600, a “Small Motto” specimen in Proof quality, can fetch as much as $20,000. Of course, it is extremely difficult for a piece in this condition to be marketed today.

Another known variation occurs with the 1873 2-cent coins.

Only proof coins were minted this year, as they were being withdrawn from circulation. There is a certain amount of “Closed 3” coins and some “Open 3” coins. The name alludes to the distance of the arms of the number 3 in the date.

On some issues the “3” looked like a “8”, according to Archibald L. Snowden‘s opinion, so the arms of the “3” were ordered to be opened.

2 cents variant
2 cents variant “Open 3”
2 cents variant
2 cents variant “Closed 3”

The “Open 3” 2-cent coin variant should not have been minted. In fact, they were not known to exist until 1950. As you may have surmised, the “Open 3” variant is the rarest, and therefore valuable. A 2-cent “Closed 3” specimen can fetch $2,000 while the other would not go below $5,000.  

Which are the most valuable 2-cent coins?

I hope everything I’ve told you so far is enough to pique your interest in these old 2-cent coins.

Next, I share with you a table with all the most valuable 2 centavo coin variants, and their possible price according to their degree of preservation. Also, I have included the data on the known quantity of coins minted each year, from 1864 to 1873.

Date Date GRAM F VF EF AU MS63
1864 Small motto 19,847,500 $125 $335 $525 $750 $995 $2100
1864 Great Motto Included above $20 $30 $35 $50 $85 $165
1865 13,640,000 $19 $30 $35 $45 $95 $180
1866 3,177,000 $20 $30 $37 $53 $120 $215
1867 2,938,750 $20 $30 $35 $60 $90 $170
1867 Double-matrix obverse Included above $165 $525 $625 $2360
1868 2.803.750 $25 $40 $50 $55 $150 $224
1869 1,546,000 $26 $45 $60 $70 $175 $225
1870 861,250 $32 $50 $75 $95 $220 $400
1871 721,250 $35 $60 $85 $135 $220 $390
1872 65.000 $290 $650 $790 $1020 $1868 $3070
1873 Closed 3, test only Included above
1873 Open 3, test only Included above $2000

Share, share…

I hope this article on old American 2 cent coins was of full interest to you. If it was, you can share it on your social networks or send it to some friends so that they can enjoy it as much as you have done before.

See you in the next text where we will continue to discover this fantastic world of collectible coins.

Kossi Adzo is the editor and author of He is software engineer. Innovation, Businesses and companies are his passion. He filled several patents in IT & Communication technologies. He manages the technical operations at

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