Classic Head $2.5

(1834-1839)

By the 1830s, melting of U.S. gold coins in Europe had reached fever pitch. National Archives records document one 1831 episode in Paris, describing the destruction of 40,000 half eagles in a single melt. U.S. gold coins, which had never been in wide circulation since the Mint’s early years, virtually disappeared.

The problem of a coinage that didn’t circulate plagued the Mint since the turn of the century, and was rooted in the Coinage Act of 1792. Shortly after Congress established a bimetallic system with a fixed ratio of 15:1 for silver to gold, the wars in Europe pushed up the world price of gold right along with Napoleon’s fortunes. Spe.... (Expand Text)