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Two-Face Coins

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While there have been many more numismatically significant coins – and collectors, for that matter – to appear on film, perhaps none has been seen in more forms of media than “Two-Face” Harvey Dent and his coins. At first, you might be wondering what I mean by “coins,” since he is primarily known for one denomination. Yet, thanks to a plethora of content from days past, more has been revealed on this story.

The character of Two-Face made its first appearance in Detective Comics #66 released in August 1942. That issue is also the first time the world is introduced to his method of making decisions via coin flip. For the most part, Dent’s coin of choice is a scarred silver dollar. In a couple of its more prominent movie appearances, Batman Forever and The Dark Knight, we see that the coin is in fact a two-headed Peace Dollar. (Let’s take a moment to appreciate the irony beyond being a practical choice given his origin!) This theme continues to the present day, as we can see below with a 1922 Peace Dollar appearing on the back cover of Batman: One Bad Day: Two-Face, which was released on Sep 20, 2022.

Two-Face’s now famous – or infamous – scarred 1922 Peace Dollar. Screenshot provided for educational purposes.

As I mentioned in the introduction, it turns out that the infamous Gotham City district attorney was not limited to an affinity for a single denomination. Lasting from 1992 to 1995, it would appear that Two-Face’s coin of choice in Batman: The Animated Series (subsequently rebranded as The Adventures of Batman & Robin for an additional two years) and the accompanying comic book series became a Washington Quarter.

Batman & Robin Adventures Issue 22 prominently featuring a scarred Washington Quarter. Screenshot provided for educational purposes.

It is never expressly stated in what time period the show takes place, but a lot of visuals suggest a ‘40s or ‘50s setting. And, of course, we know that the Washington Quarter began in 1932, so it fits the time period. But why the change? Why not keep the silver dollar that came before, and endured after? My theory is that the prime audience for the show, of which I am definitely a part, would not have a concept of Peace Dollars at the time. Many of us may not have even encountered a dollar coin in 1992 when the Batman animated series debuted, as it had been 11 years since mintage of the Susan B. Anthony Dollar was suspended. A Washington Quarter on the other hand, still years away from a major design change, may have been a coin kids handled and used on a daily basis.

It’s hard to quantify, though I’m sure someone has done it, exactly how many appearances across comic books, television, and movies Two-Face’s coins have made. But, given 80 years of to choose from, and multiple mediums, his collection, as modest as it might be, has likely been seen more than that of any fictional character. Adding to that legacy, Samoa released its own silver five dollar featuring Harvey Dent himself flipping a coin.

Reference: https://dc.fandom.com/wiki/Two-Face%27s_Coin

Miscellaneous Peace Dollars (1921-1935) Washington Quarters (1932-1964)

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