Twenty-Cent Pieces - Chapter ImageOverview of Twenty-Cent Pieces

  • Twenty-Cent Pieces - Obverse Image
  • Twenty-Cent Pieces - Reverse Image

Twenty-Cent Pieces: Design Types

The twenty-cent piece, made in silver, proved to be the shortest-lived denomination in American coinage history. They were struck in quantity in their first year of issue, 1875, after which it was learned that the public confused them with quarter dollars. Mintages dropped sharply, and in 1877 and 1878 coinage was limited to just Proofs for collectors. Both sides of the twenty-cent piece were designed by Chief Engraver William Barber. The obverse is simply an adaptation of the Liberty Seated motif earlier used on other denominations. The reverse is new and depicts a perched eagle (of the same general appearance as introduced by Barber on the 1873 silver trade dollar).

Only one twenty-cent piece is needed for inclusion in a type set. By far the most readily available in Mint State is the 1875-S, followed by the 1875-CC. These are often somewhat lightly struck on the reverse, particularly near the top of the eagle’s wings. The 1875 and 1876 Philadelphia coins are occasionally encountered in Mint State and are usually well struck.

Proofs are readily available for all years, 1875 through 1878.

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