Minted for only four years, the Twenty Cent Piece is prized by collectors, but was a major failure as a circulating coin. The twenty cent denomination was intended to increase U.S. silver exports and to trade on par with the silver Franc. The twenty cent's size and design was very close to the already circulating Seated Quarter and when released in 1875 caused immediate confusion, not unlike when the Susan B. Anthony Dollar was released 100 plus years later. Just a year later, in 1876, production of circulating Twenty Cent Pieces ended. Though the coins were a failure with the public, this odd denomination was popular with collectors of the day. The U.S. Mint struck a few hundred proof examples in 1877 and 1878 to satisfy the collectors who were not ready to see the coin go!
The Twenty Cent Piece series also gave us one of the great U.S. Coin rarities. Though 10,000 1876-CC's were struck, less that 20 are known to exist today and have reached prices near $500,000.
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