1864 Mint Set with Gold
1864 was a year of transition for the Cent. After eight years of using a copper-nickel alloy, the mint converted to a nearly pure copper alloy with a bit of tin and zinc. Both the copper nickel and the new bronze cents were struck this year, and the earliest of the bronze cents bore a small "L" (the designer's initial) on the ribbon below the neck. A new denomination appeared this year, the bronze Two Cent piece, which was struck to help alleviate the shortage of small change which had arisen due to the Civil War. The silver rarity in this set is the 1864-S quarter. Although 20,000 were minted, virtually none were saved in Mint State, and the majority circulated heavily. The gold this year has no shortage of rarities. The 1864 Quarter Eagle is extremely rare in Mint State, as is the 1864-S Half Eagle. But the crown this year goes to the 1864-S Eagle. Unknown in Mint State, it is estimated that fewer than two dozen exist in any grade. Auction appearances are few and far between, and even a well worn example will cost mid-five figures. Double Eagles are known in some quantity from recovery from hoards and shipwrecks.
Notes: This set has bonuses. Please see the Set Composition for a listing.