Salmon P. Chase.

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Post by kosovohp on Thu Oct 07, 2010 3:34 am

In 1864, Congress had authorized a third series of fractional currency notes. The five-cent note was to bear a portrait of "Clark", but Congress was appalled when the issue came out not bearing a portrait of William Clark, the explorer, but Spencer Clark, head of the Currency Bureau. According to numismatic historian Walter Breen, Congress's "immediate infuriated response was to pass a law retiring the 5 denomination, and another to forbid portrayal of any living person on federal coins or currency."[5] Clark only kept his job because of the personal intervention of Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase.[5]
Mint Director James Pollock had been opposed to striking coins containing nickel, but in view of the initial success of the copper-nickel three-cent piece, he became an advocate of striking five-cent pieces in the same metal. In his 1865 report, Pollock wrote, "From this nickel alloy, a coin for the denomination of five cents, and which would be a popular substitute for the five cent note, could easily be made ... [The five cent coin should be struck in base metal] only until the resumption of specie payments ... in time of peace ... coins of inferior alloy should not be permitted to take the place permanently of silver in the coinage of pieces above the denomination of three cents."[6]







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