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The reverse side of this Type exhibits a scroll situated above the eagle, featuring the motto IN GOD WE TRUST in raised relief. With the exception of this scroll, it remains indistinguishable from the No Motto Type.
The incorporation of the motto into our coinage was driven by the advocacy of Reverend Mark R. Watkinson from Ridleyville, Pennsylvania. The profound impact of the uncertainties and horrors of the Civil War elicited strong religious sentiments among the populace, prompting Rev. Watkinson's belief that this sentiment should be recognized. Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase concurred, utilizing his discretion over coin inscriptions to introduce the motto first on the 2-cent piece in 1864. Initially conceived as "In God Our Trust," Chase's alma mater might have influenced the ultimate version. As a graduate of Brown University, whose motto IN DEO SPERAMUS translates to "IN GOD WE HOPE," Chase may have drawn inspiration when making the definitive decision on the motto's exact wording. The Coin Act of March 3, 1865 granted the Treasury the discretionary authority to include the motto "on all coins able to accommodate it," referring to coins of sufficient size to accommodate the inscription. The Mint's interpretation encompassed all silver coins larger than a dime, half eagles, eagles, and double eagles. However, it wasn't until 1908 that Congress mandated the inclusion of the motto on gold and silver coins. Subsequently, in 1955, Congress enacted legislation necessitating the motto's presence on all coins.
With the exception of the year 1873, all With Motto Half Eagles dated before 1878 exhibit low mintages, rendering them rare and of significant value. This scarcity can be attributed to the influence of the Civil War. Throughout the war, gold coins were stockpiled, and all banks suspended specie payments. This hoarding practice led to a dual pricing structure, wherein goods purchased with paper currency cost more than those obtained with gold. Minted gold coins primarily served international trade, bank reserves, and specific contracts mandating payment exclusively in gold. However, the year 1873 is an anomaly, as the Treasury deposited substantial quantities of old, worn, and obsolete gold coins for re-coinage. The resumption of specie payments by banks in 1878 precipitated a significant increase in mintages, resulting in a substantial influx of half eagles into circulation.
Collectors pursue this coin both as a Type and within various sets. Beyond assembling sets organized by date or date and mintmark combinations, a popular approach involves acquiring a single coin from each of the seven Mints that produced half eagles, as these coins were the sole denomination minted at all seven U.S. Mints.
A LITTLE STICKER MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE.
Within each number of the coin grading scale is a small range of condition from low-end to high-end. Certified coins of the same grade can be of varying quality. Many of today’s collectors want coins that are solid or premium quality for their assigned grade. CAC holds coins to a higher standard so you can be confident in the value of yours. We verify previously graded coins … and award our sticker only to those coins that meet the standard for today’s selective buyer.
WHAT THE CAC STICKER MEANS:
Verified. Your coin has been verified as meeting the standard for strict quality within its grade.
Guaranteed. CAC stands behind our verification.
THE CAC STICKER IS BACKED BY EXPERIENCE.
CAC was founded by leading members of the numismatic community, including John Albanese, a respected authority on coin grading and the rare coin market.
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