To install click the Add extension button. That's it.

The source code for the WIKI 2 extension is being checked by specialists of the Mozilla Foundation, Google, and Apple. You could also do it yourself at any point in time.

Kelly Slayton
Congratulations on this excellent venture… what a great idea!
Alexander Grigorievskiy
I use WIKI 2 every day and almost forgot how the original Wikipedia looks like.
Live Statistics
English Articles
Improved in 24 Hours
Added in 24 Hours
Show all languages
What we do. Every page goes through several hundred of perfecting techniques; in live mode. Quite the same Wikipedia. Just better.

Coinage Act of 1857

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Flying Eagle cent
United States
Value1 cent (.01 U.S. dollars)
Mass4.67 g
Diameter19 mm
  • 88.0% copper
  • 12.0% nickel
Years of minting1856–1858
DesignEagle in flight
DesignerJames B. Longacre
Design date1856
DesignDenomination enclosed by wreath
DesignerJames B. Longacre
Design date1856

The Coinage Act of 1857 (Act of Feb. 21, 1857, Chap. 56, 34th Cong., Sess. III, 11 Stat. 163) was an act of the United States Congress which ended the status of foreign coins as legal tender, repealing all acts "authorizing the currency of foreign gold or silver coins". Specific coins would be exchanged at the Treasury and re-coined. The act is divided into seven sections.


Before the Act, foreign coins, such as the Spanish dollar, were widely used[1] and allowed as legal tender by the Act of April 10, 1806.[2] The Coinage Act of 1857 also discontinued the half cent. Furthermore, the penny was reduced in size. The large cent was discontinued and regular coinage of the Flying Eagle cent began.


In the newly created union after the Revolutionary War and up until 1792 and the establishment of the US mint, the sole medium of exchange in terms of specie was foreign coin. Alexander Hamilton had proposed that foreign coin (of which he specially based the dollar) circulate freely for a period of three years until the new mint in Philadelphia was running at full capacity in order to have a smooth transition.[3] This clause was renewed several times after being first specifically spelled out on April 10, 1806. By 1830, about 25% of all circulating coins were milled of Spanish origin.[4] President Andrew Jackson supported foreign coin as legal tender in his famous war with the Bank of the US in the Gold Bill.[5] This new development ended up making it difficult for the US to retain its overvalued worn Spanish silver in the 1840s. By the late 1840s and early 1850s, the US mint had finally been able to match demand for foreign coin.


The Coinage Act of 1857 repealed prior legal tender laws concerning foreign specie. It fixed the weight and measure of US one-cent pieces at 4.655 grams, which was composed of 88% copper and 12% nickel. It also mandated that this new copper/nickel alloy be received as payment for the worn gold and silver coins turned in at the mint. The effective aim was to limit the domestic money supply by crushing European competition. This was the first major step towards the government essentially having a monopoly over the money supply.

The act drastically altered American business. For decades, those who had accepted any form of payment as long as it was made of specie began to immediately only tolerate those newly minted with a fresh seal from the US government. Due to insatiable demand early on for the new federal cents and the profits to be made by collecting the foreign silver, many individuals, along with banks, competed with each other. The newly minted American silver made much of the foreign silver obsolete in the eyes of some. There also was the ever-present issue of the non-decimal system used in foreign coin, making prices subject to fractions of a cent and therefore payments were inconvenient. Even still, circulation of foreign coins lasted for decades longer in the rural interior.[5]

See also


  1. ^ Murray N. Rothbard. "The Mystery of Banking" (pdf), p.10, referenced 2009-08-24.
  2. ^ Library of Congress. "An Act regulating the currency of foreign coins in the United States", passed on April 10, 1806, referenced 2009-08-24.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-05-26. Retrieved 2014-03-14.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ “When Foreign Coins Circulated Freely by Gerard Muhl.” Crooked Lake Review. Web. 15 Mar. 2011 <>
  5. ^ a b Martin, David A. “The Changing Role of Foreign Money in the United States, 1782–1857.” Journal of Economic History. 4 (1977): 1009–1027. JSTOR 2119352

Further reading

External links

This page was last edited on 2 October 2020, at 12:32
Basis of this page is in Wikipedia. Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported License. Non-text media are available under their specified licenses. Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. WIKI 2 is an independent company and has no affiliation with Wikimedia Foundation.