In the late 19th century, businesses in the Western United States faced a pressing problem: a shortage of small change. This issue caught the attention of Nevada Senator John Percival Jones, who recognized the importance of providing adequate currency for everyday transactions. Jones introduced a bill in the Senate in 1874 to address this issue to create a new 20-cent piece.

The twenty-cent piece was minted from 1875 to 1878 and was slightly smaller than the quarter dollar. The coin was made of 90% silver and 10% copper and had a diameter of 22 millimeters. The obverse side of the coin featured the head of Lady Liberty facing left, with the word “Liberty” inscribed on the shield above the date. The coin’s reverse side showed a bald eagle with outstretched wings, holding arrows and an olive branch, with the words “United States of America” and “Twenty Cents” inscribed around the edge.

Despite the Mint’s efforts to promote the new coin, the public did not receive it well. Many people found it confusing and difficult to distinguish from the quarter dollar, which had a similar size and design. As a result, the twenty-cent piece was unpopular and saw limited circulation. It was also criticized for its lack of practicality, as it did not provide a significant advantage over the quarter dollar and was not easily divisible.

After four years of production, the U.S. Mint discontinued the twenty-cent piece in 1878. Today, the twenty-cent piece is a rare and highly sought-after collectible among coin enthusiasts and collectors, with only a limited number minted.

  • Designer: William Barber
  • Weight: 5 grams
  • Composition: .900 silver, .100 copper.
  • Diameter: 22 mm.
  • Plain edge
  • Coined at Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Carson City Mints.

eBay: US twenty cent

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