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Wood honors local motto proposer

 

The Delaware County, Pa., Coin Club’s annual wooden 2-cents for 2012 commemorates the wartime proposal by a local minister that ultimately resulted in the “In God We Trust” motto appearing on most U.S. coinage issues over the last century and a half.

When the Civil War broke out, New Jersey native Rev. Mark R. Watkinson was pastoring the First Baptist Church of Richmond, Va. He soon returned north to a previous pulpit to serve the First Particular Baptist Church in Ridley Township, Pa.

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Sensing the gravity of the times, in November 1861, Watkinson wrote to U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase, describing a new coinage design to include “the words God, liberty, law.”

The motto proposal was pursued, and a new 2-cent piece reached circulation in 1864 with the now familiar motto, “In God We Trust.”

The club’s wood features the current First Particular Baptist Church building at the same site where the original church stood. It includes the text “Coinage Motto Proposed 1861 by Rev. Watkinson.”

To order, send 50 cents plus a self-addressed envelope with 65 cents postage to Wooden Two Cents, Delaware County Coin Club, P.O. Box 5252, Springfield, PA 19064.

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