US Coins and History

Mint Hint US coins and history

The history of American coinage goes hand in hand with the chronicle of the nation itself. In this section, we explore the intersection of America's past with the coins of those times.

The narrative begins with the voyage of Columbus in 1492, continuing with the establishment of colonies, to the Revolution, the birth of the United States under the Constitution, up to the American Civil War and Reconstruction.

All throughout these chapters, we have strove to bring the fascinating story of American coinage to life, and explain its relevancy to larger historical events that are generally better known.

We feel this is one thing that separates us from other coin-related websites. Here at US Coin Values Advisor, our philosophy is that in order to reach the highest level of knowledge, satisfaction, and success within the realm of numismatics, one must be reasonably well versed in the historical underpinnings of the coins regularly sought by collectors.

That knowing more about your coin's background can lead to greater satisfaction is easily intuitive. But how does this knowledge contribute to success? Of course, numismatic success is defined in various ways, but few collectors, if any, don't keep a watchful eye on the changing value of their coins. Many collectors choose coins with the hope of seeing them increase more sharply in price over time compared to other collectible coins. Understanding the historical legacies associated with coins makes these decisions easier. Why is the 1848 CAL. Quarter Eagle such a hot coin? Why do buyers so often fight each other with brass knuckles to obtain coins from the Carson City Mint? Numismatists who absorb history can readily answer these questions.

Click any link within the U.S. Coins & History Chapters table below to begin your time travels. May we suggest you first check out the Introduction chapter below? It expounds further upon our philosophy of US history and coins.

U.S. Coins and History Chapters
Colonial Times
The American Revolution
We the People
The Mint Survives Political Strife
A Rising Spirit of Nationalism
The Mint Branches Out
The Nation Drifts Toward War
The Money of the Civil War
The Reconstruction Era
More Chapters to Come ....

Introduction to Coins and US History

No scholarly approach to coin collecting would be complete without dedicating a section to US coin history and America's past. This encompasses the beginning of our coinage system centuries ago, up to and including the present day.

1878 Morgan Dollar
The Morgan silver dollar originated in 1878 due to the influence of the mining lobby. You'll learn more about this in our "Gold and Silver in the Gilded Age" when it is ready. Photo courtesy of Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc., Beverly Hills, CA.

As any devoted numismatist will attest, our coins are inextricably tied to the American story, from the earliest colonial times to the birth of the United States, through the great gold and silver debates dominating American politics for much of the 19th century, and during generations of war and peace, prosperity and depression. Coins are truly visible bonds to the past, placing us face-to-face with history itself. If only that 1839 half dollar in your collection could speak, what stories it could tell!

To that end, we have endeavored to explain, side-by-side, the history of this nation and the coinage it produced, as it first came into being and then matured. In tandem with this objective, another section of the this website, called Saga of the US Mint, reflects on US and coin history from the perspective of our eight coin minting locations. Step into the "Time Machine", strap on your seat belts and embark on a journey to the past! Simply click on any chapter above to begin. Links are conveniently interspersed on each page to help time travelers navigate the annals of history. Enjoy!

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December 7, 1941. USS Arizona sinks after struck by Japanese bombs, taking 1100 sailors down to a watery grave. The Axis powers proved to be formidable opponents, even forcing changes in US coin metal composition to help sustain the war effort against them. This will be covered in the "Coinage Modifications to Meet the Challenges of WWII" chapter (to be published one of these years!)3. Image courtesy of Naval Historical Center, Beverly Hills, CA.

Like many of our fellow coin collectors, the editors of this web page are students of history, and in particular, are especially proud of the role the United States has played in world affairs. OK, so we don't have a perfect record, but it is our belief that throughout all of history, no country has done more to advance the cause of liberty and the betterment of mankind, as has the United States of America.

For anyone expecting a "politically correct" version of past events, this is not the place for you to be. On the other hand, for those of us who have a deep abiding respect for this nation and its traditions, some of the descriptions and images contained herein will likely stir strong patriotic emotions. This is not to say the truth has been embellished, for that is not necessary to appreciate the risks, sacrifices, and successes of those courageous American men and women who preceded us.

Image in "Coins and US History" Section: There are many images included in this section. To read all the fine print associated with use of these images, please refer to our Copyright and Warranty page.

Coins & History Chapters