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Question About Large Copper "Retirement"

 
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Author Previous TopicReplies: 7 / Views: 408Next Topic  
Pillar of the Community
United States
3951 Posts
 Posted 05/16/2021  6:02 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add jimbucks to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
After 1857 were banks required to turn in their large cent and Half Cent holdings to the mint for melting, or could they do what they pleased with them?

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 Posted 05/16/2021  8:25 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Rothery to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Good question - but what a great time that would have been to be able to find all of them in circulation with brand newly minted Flying Eagles.

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United States
2054 Posts
 Posted 05/16/2021  10:10 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add fortcollins to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The Coinage Act of 1857 left intact the legal tender status of large cents and Half Cents. Half Cents were useless long before then, and I suspect that the Large Cents just disappeared over time. They were awkward and clunky in commerce, and collectors were starting to build date sets of them. The hunt for circulating silver coinage in the late 1960s and early 1970s is a bit of a parallel.
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United States
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 Posted 05/17/2021  10:07 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Conder101 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
The Coinage Act of 1857 left intact the legal tender status of large cents and Half Cents.

That is true, they weren't legal tender before the Coinage Act of 1857, and they weren't legal tender afterwards either. Cents didn't have any legal tender status until 1864. The Half Cents were never legal tender until the Coinage Act of 1965. (Though there was a Congressional Resolution to give them legal tender status in 1933.)


Quote:
I suspect that the Large Cents just disappeared over time.

That is pretty much what happened to them. The banks were under no obligation to sent the large cents back to the Treasury so they used them like they would any other cent, But you have to expect that given a choice most of their customer preferred to receive the smaller lighter small cents. Eventually the coins would trickle back into the Treasury in payments and they would be melted down. I haven't checked all of the Mint reports but the large cents were still coming into the Treasury into the 20th century.
Gary Schmidt
Edited by Conder101
05/17/2021 10:10 am
Valued Member
206 Posts
 Posted 05/17/2021  11:09 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add JohnH4444 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I remember hearing somewhere that some large cents made their way up north to Canada, but that was a while ago.
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 Posted 05/17/2021  11:22 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Coinfrog to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I'm guessing it would have been illegal to melt them down?
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United States
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 Posted 05/19/2021  02:23 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Conder101 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
A lot of US coins made their way into Canada. Canada's history goes back into the 1600's but they didn't get their own coinage until 1858 with cents and ten cents and 1870 with 25 cents. And those all were imported from England. Canada didn't have their own mint until 1908. Even though they were of British and/or French extraction they modeled their economy on their closest Neighbor, the US and kept their accounts in dollars and cents rather than Pounds, Shillings and Pence. This would make it natural for our coins, which had been around for over 70 years, to make their way across the border.


Quote:
I'm guessing it would have been illegal to melt them down?

It was always legal to melt down Half Cents and large cents. They weren't legal tender and there was no law forbidding it. Supposedly during times when copper prices would rise, coppersmiths would use large cents as a source of raw materials.
Gary Schmidt
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 Posted 05/19/2021  08:36 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add just carl to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Since they didn't fit into a gum ball machine, no one wanted them anyway.
just carl
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