This short-lived coin was authorized by the Act of March 3, 1875. Soon after the appearance of the first twenty-cent pieces, people complained about the similarity in design and size to the quarter dollar. The eagle is very similar to that used on the trade dollar, but the edge of this coin is plain. The mintmark is on the reverse below the eagle.
In the denomination’s first year, more than one million pieces were struck at the San Francisco Mint; about 133,000 at the Carson City Mint; and roughly 37,000 at Philadelphia (not including about 2,800 Proofs struck there as well). These numbers dropped sharply in 1876. (Most of the Carson City coins of that year were melted at the mint and never released, a fate likely met by most of the Philadelphia twenty-cent pieces of 1876 as well.) In 1877 and 1878, only Proof examples were minted. None were struck for circulation.
Various factors caused the demise of the twenty-cent piece: the public was confused over the coin’s similarity to the quarter dollar, which was better established as a foundation of American commerce; in the eastern United States, small-change transactions were largely satisfied by Fractional Currency notes; and the twenty-cent coin was essentially just a substitute for two dimes.