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URL: https://coinhistory.info/usa/

This document is an attempt to bring various published sources together to present a timeline about United States of America Coins.

References are numbered in [brackets], which are listed here. A number after the dot gives the page in the source.

1777

February 20

  • Continental Congress committee on Treasury recommends a mint be established for coining money. [183.58]

1782

February 21

  • US congress resolves the establishment of a US mint. [6] [340.92]

1783

April 2

  • Robert Morris strikes first 1783 Nova Constellatio patterns. [193.52]
April 23

  • Superintendent of Finance Robert Morris submits examples of pattern 1783 Nova Constellatio coins to Congress. [4.60] [24.42]

1784

May 1

  • Superintendent of Finance Robert Morris sends Thomas Jefferson examples of 1783 Nova Constellatio coin patterns. [25.60]
May 11

  • US Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson presents five silver 1783 Nova Constellatio patterns to Secretary of Congress Charles Thomson. [30.32]

1785

May 13

  • The Continental Congress committee reports on plans for a coinage. [28.88]
July 6

  • The dollar (and decimal coinage) is unanimously chosen by the Continental Congress as the monetary unit for the United States. The US is the first nation to adopt decimal system of currency. The silver dollar coin is to contain 375.64 grains of silver. [6] [8] [39.56] [66.46] [115.36] [165.9] [391.722]
August 22

  • William Barton submits his outline for the establishment of a Mint to the Continental Congress. [47.60]
October 20

  • The Connecticut General Court authorizes coining up to 10,000 pounds of copper coins with an emblem of Liberty. [60.60]

1786

August 8

  • The American Continental Congress defines a silver dollar containing 375.64 grains of silver as the nation’s unit of account. [1.188] [44.67]
September 20

  • Continental Congress passes ordinance for establishing a Mint and regulating value and alloy of coinage. [136.72] [264.42]
October 16

  • Continental Congress authorizes coinage system of gold piece valued at $10, silver piece at $1, tenth dollar in silver, and copper penny. [125.34] [140.36] [286.44] [307.62]
October 17

  • The Commonwealth of Massachusetts authorizes a mint for striking gold, silver, and copper coinage. [66.70]

1787

April 21

  • Congress authorizes James Jarvis & Co. to coin 300 tons of copper cents. [99.36] [307.62]
June 1

  • Authority is granted for a New Jersey coinage. [81.12]
    July

    • James Jarvis signs contract with Confederation Treasury to produce US copper coins. [262.67]
    • The design for the copper cent is given to the coiner. [307.62]

    1788

    May 21

    • James Jarvis & Co. delivers 400,000 Fugio cents to the national government. [29.60] [34.84] [104.36]
    September 16

    • US Treasury Board voids contract with James Jarvis & Co. to produce Fugio cents. [53.80] [109.38] [136.72]

    1791

    March 3

    • Congress authorizes the president to engage artisans and procure machinery for the Mint. [6] [307.62] [352.42]
    December 21

    • Legislation is introduced in the US Senate requiring the portrait of the President to appear on all US coins. [336.38]

    1792

    January 12

    • US Senate passes bill authorizing establishment of a federal mint. [7.68] [83.32] [151.80] [339.78]
    April 2

    • US President George Washington signs the Coinage Act, establishing the US Mint; authorizing $10 eagle, $5 half eagle and $2.50 quarter eagle gold coins; authorizing dollar, half dollar, quarter dollar, dime and half dime silver coins; authorizing cent and half cent copper coins. Coins in units of milles are also authorized. The silver dollar is to be equal in value to Spanish milled dollar, with weight 416 grains, 0.8924 fine silver. The half cent is to be struck on pure copper, 5.5 pennyweight or 132 grains or 8.55345 grams. Gold and silver coins are legal tender, but copper coins are not. (The silver dollar is specified to contain 317.25 grains silver, compared to 377 grains in the Spanish dollar, leading to export of gold coins and import of silver for recoining. At the time, the only country in the world with decimal money system is Russia.) [5.52] [6] [7.69] [8] [69.22] [86.160] [96.38] [174.25] [307.62] [391.722] [407.1064]
    April 14

    • President George Wash appoints David Rittenhouse as first director of the Mint, and the US Senate confirms the nomination. [22.56] [362.10] [410.1096]
    May 8

    • US Congress approves copper purchase for coinage, and outlaws private copper coinage. [26.44] [198.58]
    July 9

    • President George Washington approves purchase of house and lot for the establishment of a Mint. [371.36]
    • David Rittenhouse formally accepts position of first director of the Mint and takes oath of office. [407.1064] [410.1096]
    • President George Washington authorizes striking of the half disme. [36.73]
    July 11

    • Thomas Jefferson takes $75 worth of silver from George Washington to be coined. [40.44]
    July 12

    • (approximate day) An estimated 1500 1792 half dismes are minted in the basement of a building owned by John Harper. [329.52] [407.1066]
    July 13

    • First delivery of half dimes from the Mint, 1500 of them. [407.1066]
    July 18

    • The US government buys two lots in Philadelphia for establishment of a Mint, for 1600 pounds sterling (US$5466.66). [41.58] [329.52] [371.36]
    July 31

    • Mint Director David Rittenhouse lays foundation stone for Philadelphia Mint. [43.68] [75.64] [119.32] [239.28] [329.52] [362.10] [371.36] (July 30 [410.1096])
    September 7

    • The US Mint purchases first copper for coining: 6 pounds of old copper at 1 shilling, 2 pence per pound. [108.44] (September 8 [133.36])
    December 17

    • Mint Chief Coiner Henry Voigt strikes a few pieces of copper cents with silver centers, for government to examine. [77.42] [336.38] [347.124] (exact date uncertain [144.64] [189.30] [309.52])

    1793

    January 1

    • Representative Elias Boudinot recommends portrait of Christopher Columbus be placed on first US coinage. [80.79]
    January 14

    • President George Washington approves bill amending Coin Act, changing weight of half cent to 104 grains (6.74 grams) and cent to 208 grains (13.48 grams), both of pure copper. [69.22] [151.80] [153.42] [309.52] [340.34] [407.1068]
    February 9

    • US Mint Act signed into law, limiting legal tender status of foreign coins to Spanish dollars and fractions three years after commencement of gold and silver coinage at the US mint. Foreign silver and gold coins are legal tender by their content. [39.56] [86.160] [174.25] [259.30] [327.48] [343.80]
    February 22

    • (estimated day) First trial strikes of copper cents are made. [309.54] [407.1068]
    February 27

    • The Philadelphia Mint begins production of 1-cent coins for circulation. [153.42] [252.69] [329.54]
    March 1

    • Mint Chief Coiner Henry Voight delivers first copper cents (11,178 of them) to Mint Treasurer Tristam Dalton. [153.42] [252.69] [289.70] [309.54] [346.74] [352.42] [407.1068]
    March 12

    • The Mint ceases production of 1-cent coins, due to lack of blanks. Total production of the Flowing Hair, Chain cent is estimated at 36,103. [153.42] [348.28] [407.1068]
    April 4

    • The Mint resumes production of 1-cent coins, with a wreath replacing the previous chain design. [96.38] [194.44] [252.70] (March 31 [153.42])
    April 10

    • US Mint Chief Coiner Henry Voigt delivers 6000 cents to Mint Treasurer. [1.B20] [21.22] [194.44]
    April 19

    • Coinage of cents at the Philadelphia Mint is suspended due to lack of planchets. [196.22] [356.36]
    June 27

    • The Philadelphia Mint resumes production of cents. [367.38]
    July 1

    • The US Mint Act of 1793 goes into effect. [39.56]
    • US Mint suspends coinage of cents depicting Liberty with flowing hair. [114.36]
    July 17

    • Final 176 cents with wreath design are delivered by Mint Chief Coiner Henry Voigt to Mint Treasurer Tristam Dalton. [371.36]
    July 18

    • The Philadelphia Mint begins production of 1793 Liberty Cap half cents. [309.58] (July 20 [69.24])
    July 20

    • US Mint Chief Coiner Henry Voigt delivers the first 7000 struck half cents to the Mint treasurer. [117.38] [309.58] [315.64]
    August 18

    • The Philadelphia Mint closes due to a yellow fever epidemic. [253.68]
    September 14

    • Joseph Wright, engraver at the Philadelphia Mint, dies of yellow fever. [309.58]
    September 18

    • The Philadelphia Mint delivers the first batch of 1793 Liberty Cap cents (11,056 of them), and first 3400 half cents with Liberty Cap design. [69.22] [252.70] [309.58] [315.64]
    November 23

    • Robert Scot is officially made chief engraver of the Mint. [70.64] [124.193] [131.48] [292.32] [332.46]

    1794

    April 4

    • Albion Cox is appointed as US Mint assayer. [5.52] [194.44]
    July 18

    • The Bank of Maryland makes the first deposit of silver bullion for coinage at the US Mint, $80,715.735 in French coins. [67.38] [116.22] [239.28] [303.58]
    August 23

    • The Bank of North America deposits more than $20,000 in silver at the Philadelphia Mint for coinage. [102.34] [122.32]
    August

    • Mint Director David Rittenhouse deposits silver bullion with the Mint for coinage. [303.58]
    September

    • Assayer Albion Cox convinces Mint Director David Rittenhouse to make silver coins of 0.900 purity instead of 0.8924, with argument that coins less than 0.900 pure would soon turn black in use. [303.58]
    October 15

    • In anticipation of a legal change in silver coin specifications, Mint Director David Rittenhouse orders production of silver dollars at 0.900 fine, 416 grains (374.75 grains silver). (204,791 are produced like this, dated 1794-95, then Rittenhouse resigns, and legal specification coinage resumes.) [174.25]
    • The US Mint strikes 1,758 silver dollars, the only day of production for dollar coins for the year. The coinage press is of insufficient power to properly produce the large coins. The coins are struck in 0.900 fine silver, 374.4 grains instead of the legal 0.8924 fine, 371.25 grains, giving the coins a value of 100.85 cents in pure silver. (An estimated 140 survive to today.) [50.4] [58.68] [125.34] [140.36] [182.54] [303.58] [383.44] [420.46] [422.52] [434.18] (October 14 [291.134])
    • Chief coiner Henry Voight delivers 5300 half dollars to the Mint treasurer, the entire mintage for 1794, coined to illegal 0.900 fineness instead of 0.8924, containing 1/2-cent extra silver per coin. [58.68] [114.64] [125.34] [383.44] [422.52] (December 1 [134.38] [303.58])

    1795

    February 4

    • First delivery of 18,164 1795-dated silver half dollars. [422.52]
    February 12

    • Boston merchant Moses Brown makes first deposit of gold at Philadelphia Mint, $2275.22 in ingots, in payment for receipt of silver coins. [180.132] [259.30] [344.50]
    March 30

    • First delivery of 7756 half dismes, dated 1794 and 1795. [422.52]
    March 31

    • The US Mint begins producing half dime coins with Robert Scot’s Flowing Hair Liberty design. [5.52]
    April 5

    • The Philadelphia Mint acquires a half ton of Talbot, Allum & Lee tokens from William Talbot, for reuse as half cent coins. [1.B20]
    April

    • By the end of the month, a special coining press for dollars and medals is ready for use. [303.59]
    May 6

    • Full-scale production of dollar coins (at illegal 0.900 fineness) begins at the Philadelphia Mint with a new more powerful press. About 4000 coins are struck. [182.54] [303.59] [409.383]
    June 5

    • Last 1795-dated silver dollars are delivered to the Treasury. [303.59]
    June 30

    • Mint Director David Rittenhouse resigns due to ill health. [39.56] [182.54] [303.59]
    July

    • President George Washington appoints William De Saussure as new Mint Director. [303.59]
    July 31

    • Production begins on gold coins for circulation at the Philadelphia Mint. [117.38] [182.55] [303.59]
    • The US Mint makes first delivery of gold coins to the Treasury, 744 half eagles. [119.32] [180.132] [345.108]
    (month unknown)

    • (Summer) Artist Gilbert Stuart agrees to produce a new design to replace the Flowing Hair design on the dollar coin. [300.26]
    September

    • The Philadelphia Mint begins striking $10 gold eagle coins. [47.15] (September 22 [137.56] [180.132] [380.34])
    September 17

    • The Philadelphia Mint delivers the first 1097 gold eagle coins. [53.80] [109.38] [136.72] [264.42] (September 22 [47.15])
    (month unknown)

    • The US Mint begins production of silver dollars with new designs. [182.55] [300.26]
    October 27

    • William De Saussure resigns as Director of the US Mint. [43.68] [142.72] [182.55] [303.59]
    October 28

    • Elias Boudinot becomes director of the US Mint. [43.126] [182.55]
    November 26

    • The Mint makes first delivery of silver coins in the authorized 0.8924+ fineness standard, 33,900 half dimes. [303.84]
    November 27

    • With the death of assayer Albion Coxe, all coinage stops. [182.56]
    December 15

    • US Senate confirms appointment of Elias Boudinot as Mint Director. [189.30] [420.40]

    1796

    January 18

    • Philadelphia Mint begins production of dimes for circulation. [152.62] [256.24]
    January 26

    • Presidential proclamation reduces weight of half cents. [257.20]
    April 9

    • The Philadelphia Mint coins an initial 1,800 1796-dated Draped Bust quarter-dollar coins. [97.32] [194.44]
    July

    • The Philadelphia Mint strikes the last Liberty Cap cents, due to lack of copper. [252.73]
    September 21

    • Philadelphia Mint begins production of gold quarter eagles. [137.56] [301.26]
    October

    • The Philadelphia Mint received an order of 350,000 copper planchets and sheet copper for about 400,000 planchets from Governor & Company of England. [252.73]
    November

    • The Philadelphia Mint begins striking cents with Robert Scot’s draped bust Liberty design. [252.73]
    December

    • The Mint begins striking gold quarter eagles with 16 stars around obverse border to indicate addition of Tennessee to the Union. [315.66]
    December 12

    • Mint Director Elias Boudinot acquires unissued copper tokens of Talbot, Allum & Lee, for recoinage as half cents. [135.42] [335.40]

    1797

    February 28

    • The Mint delivers 60 1797-dated Draped Bust, Small Eagle silver half dollars to the Bank of the United States for circulation. [346.74]
    May 26

    • The Mint delivers the last half dollars of the 18th century. [303.84]
    July 22

    • George Washington issues a proclamation indefinitely extending the legal tender status of Spanish milled dollar. [42.62]
    July 31

    • President John Adams sets July 31, 1798 as date after which only US and Spanish coins are legal tender. [119.32]
    October 15

    • Foreign silver coins except Spanish milled dollars cease to be legal tender. [58.68]

    1798

    July 23

    • First Heraldic Eagle silver dismes are delivered. [42.62]
    July 31

    • Foreign gold coins cease to be legal tender in the USA. [119.32]
    • President John Adams issues proclamation extending circulation of foreign coins, due to coin shortage. [43.68]
    August 17

    • The Philadelphia Mint shuts for yellow fever outbreak. [252.76]
    November

    • The Philadelphia Mint re-opens following yellow fever outbreak. [252.76]

    1799

    March 2

    • An Act of Congress establishes the value within the USA of coins of Great Britain, France, Netherlands, Denmark, Spain, and other countries. [346.74]
    August 26

    • The Philadelphia Mint is closed due to a yellow fever epidemic, and remains closed for two months. [114.93]
    1777-1799 1800-1849 1850-1874 1875-1899 1900-1934 1935-1964 1965-1973 1974-1979 1980-1989 1990-1999
    2000-2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012-end

     

    A list of references to all source material is available.

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