The answer is 1872 was the lowest mintage business strike mintage with the proof-only 1873 being the lowest mintage. The fact that the two were in consecutive years probably tells you a great deal about the situation with the 2-cent piece back in the early 1870s.
The 2-cent piece had a purpose when it was first released in 1864. At the time the nation had basically no coins in circulation. Gold and silver were being hoarded because of the Civil War and because people apparently did not understand that they had very little value people had even taken to hoarding copper-nickel cents.
Anyway, it was a desperate situation an officials came up with a rather complicated set of proposals that basically saw the cent and a new 2-cent piece to be made of bronze while new 3- and 5-cent pieces would be produced of a copper-nickel alloy.
As things worked out, the new 2-cent piece was the first coin to feature the motto IN GOD WE TRUST. It was to have a very short period of heavy use. The first mintage was 20 million. The second year of production in 1865 saw 13,640,000 pieces struck, but after that it was down hill.
Mintages would fall quickly to below 1 million pieces by 1870 and then to just 65,000 in 1872 before reaching the proof-only 1873 which was the final 2-cent piece.
The G-4 price is $400 for the 1872. This is a coin with a 65,000 mintage and such mintages are not found every day. Perhaps even more fascinating is that an MS-60 is $3,150 while an MS-65 is $5,500, but a Proof-65 is $850.
The real conclusion we can reach is that the 1872 is a low mintage date and probably a very good value in circulated grades. It seems to be correctly priced in upper grades and with so many available proofs it is a unique opportunity to have a Proof-65 of a very low mintage date which is almost 150 years old. For those looking for an interesting opportunity it does not get much better than that.
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