Coin collection displayed at local bank in observation of National Coin Week

By Rozella Hardin

   A display of coins at Elizabethton Federal Savings Bank invites the public to take a take a closer look at their money as well as coins of the past.
   The display by a local coin collector has been placed at the bank as part of National Coin Week, which is being observed this week.
   This year's National Coin Week Theme is "Faces of Time," focusing on the people whose portraits have graced coins through the ages.
   U.S. coins have changed many times since the Coinage Act of 1792, which adopted the dollar as the standard monetary unit.
   Silver dollars have been minted and issued at various times since 1794. Dollar coins were discontinued in 1935, then resumed in 1971 with the introduction of the silverless Eisenhower dollar. The silverless Susan B. Anthony coin, honoring the famed women's suffrage advocate, replaced the Eisenhower dollar in 1979. A new dollar coin authorized in 1997 replaced the Susan B. Anthony coins in 2000. The new coin depicts Scagawea, the Native American woman whose presence was essential to the success of the Lewis and Clark expedition.
   Half-dollars virtually disappeared from circulation following the introduction, in 1964, of the Kennedy half-dollar. Despite the fact that huge quantities were produced, the half-dollar remained scarce in general circulation through 1970. Silverless halves first appeared in 1971.
   Other coin denominations in common use today are the 25-cent piece, 10-cent, five-cent, and one-cent pieces, familiarly known as the quarter, dime, nickel and penny.
   The composition of U.S. coins has changed considerably over the past few decades. Because of a growing worldwide silver shortage, the Coinage Act of 1965 authorized a change in the composition of dimes, quarters and half-dollars, which had been 90 percent silver. Silver was eliminated from the dime and quarter. The half-dollar's silver content was reduced to 40 percent and, after 1970, was eliminated altogether.
   The one-cent piece is now copper-plated zinc. The old and new pennies look virtually identical, but the new coin is about 19 percent lighter.
   U.S. coin denominations used in the past were the half-cent, two-cent, three-cent and 20-cent pieces, as well as a small silver coin called a half-dime. Gold coins in denominations of $1, $2.50 ("Quarter Eagle"), $3, $5 ("Half Eagle"), $10 ("Eagle"), and $20 ("Double Eagle") were used from 1795 until 1933.
   Among the coins on display at Security Federal Banks include half-cent coins (1795 Liberty Cap, 1804 Draped Bush) 1828 Classic Head with 13 stars, and 1855 Coronet Type.
   One-cent large coins displayed include the 1795 Liberty Cap, 1802 Draped Bush, 1814 Classic Head, 1834 Coronet, 1837 Coronet, 1843 Coronet, and 1849 Coronet.
   Among the small one-cent pieces are the 1858 Flying Eagle, and wheat ears from 1909, 1942, 1943, and 1944.
   Other coins include an 1867 two-cent coin; three-cent coins from 1853, 1856, 1861 and 1865.
   The display also includes a number of five-cent pieces, half dimes, dimes, a 20-cent coin, quarters, statehood quarters, half-dollar pieces, commemorative half-dollars and dollar coins.
   All of the U.S. coins currently minted portray past U.S. presidents. They are the Lincoln one-cent piece, adopted in 1909; the 25-cent piece portraying Washington, first minted in 1932; the five-cent piece honoring Jefferson, adopted in 1938; the Franklin D. Roosevelt dime, introduced in 1946; and the Kennedy half-dollar, which appeared in 1964.
   The 50 States Quarters Program Act of 1997 provides for the redesign of the reverse side of quarters to depict emblems of each of the 50 states. Each year from 1999 through 2008, coins commemorating five states, with designs created by the state, will be issued in the order in which the states signed the Constitution or joined the Union. These quarters will be in general circulation, but the Mint will also sell sets of collector edition proof, uncirculated, and silver proof coins.
   The phrase "In God We Trust" was first used on the U.S. two-cent coin in 1864. It appeared on the nickel, quarter, half-dollar and silver dollar, and on the $5, $10 and $20 gold pieces in 1866, on the penny in 1909, and on the dime in 1916. Dropped from the nickel in 1883, the phrase reappeared on the nickel in 1938. All U.S. coins now bear the motto.
   During National Coin Week 2002, collectors want people to focus their attention on money and the faces looking back at them. Far beyond an old item's collector value, holding a coin from 50 or even 100 years ago can begin an exciting journey of discovery into the honor, recognition, politics and power behind the face that appears on the small pieces of round metal.