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Virginia Halfpenny Coin
Regular Price: $4.00
Sale Price: $1.99
Coins of the United States had been made for several years prior to 1799 and all U.S. coins of the mid 1790’s were made in small quantities. Americans still used mostly foreign coins in their everyday transactions, including the halfpenny.
On May 20, 1773 the Virginia Assembly authorized the coining of a halfpenny at the Tower mint in London. The coin was made of copper at a weight of sixty halfpence to the pound. Five tons of half pence (about 670,000 pieces) arrived in New York aboard the ship Virginia on February 14, 1774, and with written royal permission were distributed in February 1775. With the beginning of the Revolutionary War, Virginians hoarded the new halfpenny, and although the coin featured the portrait of the king of England, it was popular in Revolutionary and post war Virginia.
During the first years of its existence, the United States government debated bitterly over the establishment of a national monetary system. War debt and trade imbalances threatened the young economy. The establishment of the U.S. Mint in 1792 during George Washington’s first term as president was a bold and necessary step toward creating a standardized form of currency to meet these challenges.