The only design change for this version was the addition of arrows to each side of the date. This time the arrows were meant to denote an increase in silver weight rather than a reduction, as was the case in 1853. The increase in silver weight was a minuscule .03 grams.
This change stemmed from the Mint Act of 1873. It is generally accepted that this legislation was passed with very little attention paid by Congress as to the nature of the changes or to their ramifications. In addition to eliminating some denominations, two Congressmen used the Act to further their vision of American coins becoming the coinage of choice throughout the world. They felt the weight of our coins must conform to the metric standard. To accomplish this, their accepted proposal was to have our silver coins increased in weight by a tiny amount. The reality was that acceptable Mint tolerances made this change totally unnoticeable, and did nothing to entice the rest of the world to use American coins. It did, however, succeed in having our coins conform to the metric weight system, a situation that would remain until 1964.
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