The Shield nickel was the first United States five-cent piece to be
made out of copper-nickel, the same alloy of which American nickels are
struck today. Designed by James B. Longacre, the coin was issued from
1866 until 1883, when it was replaced by the Liberty Head nickel.
Silver half dimes had been struck from the early days of the United
States Mint in the late 18th century. They disappeared from
circulation, along with most other coins, in the economic turmoil of
the Civil War. In 1864, the Mint successfully introduced
low-denomination coins, whose intrinsic worth did not approach their
face value. Industrialist Joseph Wharton advocated coins containing
nickel—a metal in which he had significant financial interests. When
the Mint proposed a copper-nickel five-cent piece, Congress required
that the coin be heavier than the Mint had suggested, allowing Wharton
to sell more of the metal to the government. Longacre's design was
based on his two-cent pieces, and symbolizes the strength of a unified
America. The nickel proved difficult to strike, and the reverse, or
"tails", design was modified in 1867. Even so, production difficulties
continued, causing many minor varieties which are collected today.
Minting of the Shield nickel for circulation was suspended in 1876 for
a period of over two years, and it was struck in only small quantities
until 1882. The following year, the coin was replaced by Charles E.
Barber's Liberty head design.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
Explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo became the first European to set foot
on Santa Catalina Island off the coast of California.
The Ottoman Empire was decisively defeated by the Christian West for
the first time, as a multinational fleet led by Don John of Austria
crushed the Turkish navy near the Gulf of Corinth in the Battle of
American Revolutionary War: The Patriots defeated the Loyalists at the
Battle of Kings Mountain in South Carolina.
American writer and poet Edgar Allan Poe died under mysterious
circumstances at Washington Medical College after being found four days
earlier on the streets of Baltimore, Maryland, in a delirious and
Marxist revolutionary and guerrilla leader Che Guevara was captured
near La Higuera, Bolivia.
Californians voted to recall Governor Gray Davis from office and
elected Arnold Schwarzenegger from a list of 135 candidates.
Wiktionary's word of the day:
Of or like a burden; arduous or demanding
Wikiquote quote of the day:
I am doing it
the it I am doing is
the I that is doing it
the I that is doing
the it I am doing
--Ronald David Laing
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