The United States twenty cent coin, also known as the double dime, was introduced in 1875 as a response to the shortage of small change caused by the widespread use of the Spanish silver dollar. It was the brainchild of Nevada Senator John P. Jones, who believed that a coin slightly larger than the dime would alleviate the problem. The coin was made of 90% silver and 10% copper, and was slightly larger than the quarter at 22 millimeters in diameter. It featured the image of Liberty on the obverse and an eagle with outstretched wings on the reverse. Despite its unusual size and design, the twenty cent coin was legal tender and had a face value of twenty cents.
However, the coin was not well-received by the public. Many mistook it for a quarter, and others saw no need for it since it was only worth slightly more than a dime. Merchants also complained that it was difficult to distinguish from the quarter, leading to confusion in transactions. As a result of these issues, the twenty cent coin only circulated for a brief period from 1875 to 1878. The U.S. Mint stopped producing it in 1878, and it was eventually demonetized in 1890. Today, the twenty cent coin is a rare and valuable collector’s item, with only a few thousand examples remaining in existence.
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