Description and Analysis

Shield Two Cents
1864 SMALL MOTTO 2C MS

Description & Analysis

This first issue of two-cent piece differs from the later style in several respects, but the most notable is the height of the letters in the motto IN GOD WE TRUST. Since the Small Motto was perfectly serviceable, it must be assumed that the letters were later enlarged to make them conform with those of the reverse.

The Small Motto variety of the 1864 two-cent piece is described as a prototype or pattern in some reference books, but the fact remains that several thousand coins were struck for general circulation using this obverse die. They are thus collected as part of the regular series. Examples are scarce in all grades, and Mint State survivors are quite rare.