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U.S. wasn’t first to use ‘peace’ on coinage

clinic1.jpgWas the U.S. Peace dollar the first coin with the word “peace” on it?

A number of years ago I quoted Carl Allenbaugh on this, and found that it was one of the few times that he had made a misstatement of fact. If we said “in English” on a coin, it probably would be the only example. However, there are thousands of Greek and Roman coins that bear the word.

clinic2.jpgWhy were there no denominations on our early silver coins?

It was a matter of ego. British coins didn’t show a value, so ours didn’t either. The act establishing U.S. coinage did not require denominations on silver and gold coins, so they followed the British tradition of value denoted by size and weight.

I know that our country started out on a system that included mills, and they were used in the 1930s for state tax tokens, but the mill denomination isn’t still on the books, is it?

Indeed it is, as part of Section 5101, Title 31, U.S. Code. The dime gets official mention, too. The nickel, quarter and half dollar are ignored. Here is the full text: “United States money is expressed in dollars, dimes or tenths, cents or hundreths, and mills or thousandths. A dime is a tenth of a dollar, a cent is a hundredth of a dollar and a mill is a thousandth of a dollar.”

Has the United States ever struck a U.S. coin denominated in pesos?

Careful before you jump on this one! All of the peso-denominated coins used in the Philippines between 1903 and 1945 are U.S. coins. They were struck at either the mainland U.S. mints or the U.S. mint in Manila.

I have a hefty bet riding on this one. Which country was the first to use the word “dollar” on a coin?

If you know the answer, and don’t bet on the U.S., you could probably win a few bets with this one. The United States struck dollars from 1794 until 1836 before identifying the denomination. England struck dollars showing the denomination in 1804. Sierra Leone issued a 1791 coin with “One Dollar” on it. Charles II of Scotland struck the first dollar coins in 1676. Smaller pieces down to the denomination of 1/16 dollar were also issued.

Address questions to Coin Clinic, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. Because of space limitations, we are unable to publish all questions. Include a loose 41-cent stamp for reply. Write first for specific mailing instructions before submitting numismatic material. We cannot accept unsolicited items. E-mail inquiries should be sent to Answerman2@aol.com.

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