Four hundred years after Christopher Columbus landed in the Americas, newly inaugurated president Grover Cleveland threw the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893 to honor him. Now referred to as the Chicago World’s Fair, this was a huge event that lasted nearly half the year, featured several samples of U.S. cities, and hosted multiple nations. In addition to the massive crowd of invitees, the fair premiered new items and ideas; this included the world’s first Ferris wheel and brand new polished buildings. Oddly enough on the same day the fair opened, the New York Stock Exchange crashed yet again which sparked the Panic of 1893 and led into four years of economic depression.
Despite this financial hit money was still spent. In fact, Oklahoma hosted its fourth land run at which thousands raced to claim land for relatively cheap prices, if they could that is. The U.S. military also spent several thousand dollars when they decided to overthrow the Hawaiian Kingdom without congressional approval. Needless to say, because money was being spent, it certainly needed to be made. By 1893 the Liberty head five-cent coin had been in circulation for a decade, despite some early upsets. In 1883 congress, the mint, and the new head engraver decided it was time for a redesign for the difficult five-cent piece. Upon redesign Charles E. Barber failed to include the “cent” denomination on the coin leaving just the Roman numeral five. This allowed opportunist to collect the unmarked coin, cast it in gold, and passed it off for a new five-dollar coin. The mistake was quickly fixed, even though some million coins had been produced, and this new design continued in production for another 20 years.