Big Nub Numismatics's Blog

02 Jul 2018

Centless America

Coins | Big Nub Numismatics

In 1862, the Civil War was far underway. Its effects were not just evident on the landscape, government, and production. The money of that time took a hard hit, and the people that used it. As the first Legal Tender notes were issued in 1862, the public lost trust in the economy. Citizens preferred the coins of that time to the new "greenbacks" which were not yet backed by the U.S., and many people went searching for the lower, and higher denominations and hoarding them. With the Union and the Confederacy struggling to pay for the war, and people hoarding, war bonds became the norm'. This was a terrible time in the economy. on April 20th of 1862, the Mint inventoried 940,379 one cent pieces. This was a good supply for the economy, and things were looking good. Until August 31st. On that day, only 368 one cent pieces remained, and the banks of the Union were panicking, adding to the already " Hard Times" Many substitutes came in through circulation made by shops and businesses, This led to famous series of tokens, and the back-in-time motion of our economy. Within months shells, and leather were used again as currency. In December it was no better, having only 254 one cent pieces left. With the war affecting overseas trade, the mint did not have sufficient supplies to mint the greatly needed cents. Most of the materials had already been taken from American soil, except for some small amount left in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and even this was depleted because of problems smelting the ore of nickel and copper.

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