The two-cent piece is a US coin that was first produced at the end of the Civil War, but has origins that extend back to the early 1800s. Though the idea for a two-cent piece was originally derived during the first few years of the 19th century by a Senator from Connecticut, the Civil War and a few other events prevented the coin from being approved and put into circulation. This might have been for the best, too, because once the coin was first introduced in 1864, it would only stay in circulation for 10 years before being pulled.
Nowadays, the two-cent piece is a desirable coin in the eyes of collectors. While most US coins from this time period are sought after by collectors, the limited mintage of the two-cent piece makes this coin especially sought after. Unfortunately for most collectors, the age of the coin added to the fact that many have been circulated means that it is a trying task to find one that has been preserved well throughout the years. Still, there are plenty of coins out there for the taking, some of which have had their condition aptly withstand the test of time.
As for what the coin looks like, the overall design is quite simple. On the obverse side of the 1866 two-cent piece you will find the seal of the United States dominating the central part of the coin. Above the seal is a waving banner with a raised inscription of “In God We Trust.” The year in which the coin was minted is located directly below the US Seal.
On the coin’s reverse, a wheat wreath is featured in the center. The 2-cent face value of the coin is located within the central part of the wreath, while the words “United States of America” arch overtop.
Being that collectors desire only the most well-preserved two-cent pieces, it makes sense that graded coins are the only ones collectors want to buy. To make what can be a long explanation quite short, a coin’s grade is nothing more than a description of the coin’s condition as derived by an expert. The following will help you gain a better understanding of the aesthetic characteristics of a 1866 two-cent piece depending upon its grade.
Uncirculated: As its name implies, an uncirculated 1866 two-cent piece is one that never spent any time exchanging hands. As such, the coin’s surfaces will have retained all their imagery and inscriptions in perfect shape. The raised imagery will still be noticeably raised from the coin’s face and there will be absolutely no scratches, chips, or any other markings.
Extremely Fine: An Extremely Fine two-cent piece will look almost identical to an Uncirculated example, however under closer inspection some minor imperfections will be able to be made out. At face value though, these coins will look like there is absolutely no damage whatsoever.
Fine: Fine is the grade given to coins that have definitely spent some time in circulation, but have been well-preserved as well. These coins will be complete with the scratches and the smoothing typically associated with circulated coins, but the raised lettering and imagery will still be fully intact and very easily made out by the naked eye.
Good: The worst grade a coin can receive is a Good grade. These are the coins that have spent a lot of time in circulation and do a good job of showing that fact. The coin will show significant smoothing to the point where the raised imagery—such as the US seal—will be difficult to differentiate from the flat aspects of the coin’s faces.
As far as determining a price for the 1866 two-cent piece is concerned, this is something that will almost wholly rely on the grade which the coin is given. As was previously mentioned, there have been very few two-cent pieces that have made it through the years in perfect condition. As such, those that have been well-preserved will end up costing much more than those that have been heavily circulated and show plenty of signs of wear. A price guide for the 1866 two-cent piece based on grade can be found below.
1866 Two Cent
|1866||$19||$27||$50||$80||Source: Red Book|