1864 2C Large Motto MS65RD. A fiery, very premium quality Gem of this important and widely collected odd denomination. Millions were struck of this first year issue, but full red Gems are anything but common. The surfaces of this coin display a vibrant and totally original orange-red color that barely shows just a whisper mellowing in the nearly 15 decades since its Civil War era origin. The mint red color is virtually undiminished by the passage of time, appearing today much as it did in 1864, the year Colonel Chivington massacred the Southern Cheyenne at Sand Creek. This unusual denomination was created to help fill the yawning gap in circulating coinage that resulted from the widespread hoarding of coins in the early 1860s. An historic issue designed by James Barton Longacre that is indelibly linked with the Civil War, the 1864 two cent piece is also the first U.S. coin to bear the motto IN GOD WE TRUST. The present example is the second and more commorn of the two varieties produced this year. The earlier Small Motto coins were prototypes and modified after only a few thousand were struck, with the motto enlarged on subsequent strikings. Far fewer of the Small Motto coins are seen today with full red color than of their Large Motto counterparts. Held back from an even higher grade only by light, scattered flyspecks, and uncommonly attractive even for the MS65 grade, this Large Motto Gem shows nearly full mint-red color. Both sides are intensely lustrous, with vivid crimson-orange color. All features show pinpoint striking definition, with with good detail to the highpoints. The lustrous and unabraded surfaces have no obtrusive contact marks, and only negligible carbon.
Ron Guth: In 1864, the Philadelphia Mint produced two versions of the Two Cent piece, both relating to the size of the letters in the motto IN GOD WE TRUST. The Large Motto replaced the Small Motto and became the model for the remaining years of the Two Cent type. The Large Motto variety is the more common of the two. Cherry-pickers should keep a lookout for the following scarce and interesting varieties:
1864 Large Motto, Doubled Die Obverse1864 Large Motto, Triple Punched Date1864 Large Motto, Reverse clashed with the obverse die of an Indian Head Cent!
Sources and/or recommended reading:"Getting Your Two Cents Worth" by Kevin Flynn"Two Cent Piece - An 1864 Attribution Guide" by Frank Leone"Cherrypickers' Guide, Fifth Edition, Volume I" by Bill Fivaz and J.T. Stanton