Five-Piece "No Motto" Coin & Currency Collection
All of today's coins and banknotes feature the motto "In God We Trust." But at one time, the motto was not included in the designs. During the Civil War, Congress mandated that "In God We Trust" had to appear on the nation's money. Not all coins and banknotes were quick to adopt the motto, and this collection brings together four of the last coins and one of the last bank notes without the motto.
The Indian Head Penny, Liberty Head Nickel, Buffalo Nickel, and Barber Dime were among the last coins without the motto. "In God We Trust" was first added to $1 bills during the Series 1935 Silver Certificates. This collection includes a $1 Silver Certificate without the motto. All of these items are long out of issue and are seldom seen - especially in fascinating sets like this.
Display Box Dimensions: 7-1/2" x 4" x 1/4"
Distributed by the Franklin Mint. Country of origin is United States.
The idea of striking an image of a past president on a circulating coin in the United States ignited a controversy in 1909. The act of honoring the 100th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth by etching his likeness into the American cent directly violated a long-standing tradition in American coinage. Many believed that the custom established by George Washington of not using the images of presidents on circulating coins should be respected. Despite this resistance, the coin adopted the image of Lincoln and also the initials of the coin's designer, Victor D. Brenner. The relative prominence of the V.D.B. on the reverse of the coin led many to criticize the design. The initials were removed shortly thereafter but eventually returned in a more subtle form in 1918.
The coin debuted with a reverse featuring a pair of wheat ears encircling the words, "One Cent" and "United States of America". The term "Wheat Penny" derives from this reverse design. In 1959, to honor the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth, a new reverse, designed by noted U.S. Mint Engraver, Frank Gasparro, replaced the original. The new reverse displayed a striking image of the Lincoln Memorial surrounded by the words, "One Cent" and "United States of America." This reverse design remained on the penny until 2009 when four new reverse images were introduced to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth and the 100th anniversary of the Lincoln Cent. The four designs each honored a different stage of Lincoln's life and were released one at a time every three months over the course of the year.
First minted in 1916, this United States ten-cent piece features an image on the obverse of Lady Liberty wearing a winged Phrygian cap. The likeness drew comparisons to the Roman messenger god, Mercury, giving the coin its nickname. The cap Liberty wears has origins in ancient Greece and Rome and became a symbol of freedom used by revolutionaries in France and America during the late 18th century. The designer of the coin, Adolph Weinman, added wings to the sides of the cap to specifically call to mind freedom of thought.
The reverse of the Mercury dime features the fasces at the center supported by an olive branch. The fasces is an ancient Roman symbol of power and authority composed of rods arranged parallel and wrapped to the handle of an ax, while the olive branch is a traditional symbol of peace. The United States Mint struck the Mercury dime until the end of 1945. In 1946, John Sinnock's new design for the ten-cent coin honoring President Franklin Delano Roosevelt replaced the Mercury dime and continues today.
The Buffalo Nickel was designed by James Earle Fraser and first minted in 1913. This extremely popular and legendary coin features the profile of a Native American man on the obverse and the image of a bison on a small hill on the reverse. Fraser revealed before his death that his depiction of the man on the obverse was a composite profile based upon Chief Iron Tail of the Lakota Sioux, Chief Two Moons of the Cheyenne, and possibly a third man. Although this third person was not specified by Fraser, many believe him to be Chief Big Tree of the Kiowa. The reverse design is thought to be an image of a famous bison at the time named Black Diamond, which lived at the New York Zoo.
The United States Mint produced the coin up until 1938 when it was replaced by Felix Schlag's portrait of Thomas Jefferson on the obverse and an image of the third President's home, Monticello, on the reverse. In 2006, James Earle Fraser's definitive work on the Buffalo Nickel was again used as the design for the new 24K gold American Buffalo coin. The U.S. Mint also struck a coin in 2001 featuring Fraser's famous Buffalo Nickel design to commemorate the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian in the Smithsonian Institution.