Has the US ever "demonetized" any currency or coinage?

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by ZoidMeister, Sep 8, 2020.

  1. ZoidMeister

    ZoidMeister Hamlet Squire of Tomfoolery . . . . .

    I understand that the Federal Reserve has stopped printing currency larger than the $100 bill, but are those old notes "demonetized?"

    What about older obsolete US coinage? Understand there's not much use for the Half Cent, but the $2 bill is still legal tender, what about the 2 Cent piece.

    What brought this up in my mind is doing research on foreign governments and discovering the surprising amount of non-US coinage and currency that has been "demonetized."

    In for the history lesson.

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  3. Jeffjay

    Jeffjay Well-Known Member

    I'll wait for the experts to chime in but I believe all u.s. coin and currency is still considered legal tender.
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  4. cpm9ball

    cpm9ball CANNOT RE-MEMBER

    Yes and no. The trade dollar was demonetized in the 1870's (not sure of date) and then remonetized in 1965.
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  5. Lawtoad

    Lawtoad Well-Known Member

    Right on the money. The trade Dollar was demonetized in 1876, but re-monetized when the Coinage Act of 1965 was signed into law.
  6. Randy Abercrombie

    Randy Abercrombie Supporter! Supporter

    So the gold reserve act (1933?) did not demonetize gold at the time?
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  7. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    Depends on what you consider US. If you start with Constitution, I believe the US is the only country to never demonetize any coins or currency, save for the Trade dollar others described. We have tried to recall certain items, with banks being prohibited to recirculate anything over $100 bills, and I believe fractional currency has to be turned in, but they are still legal tender.

    If you go back further to the Continental Congress, then of course the Continental Currency was only redeemed for I believe 1 cent on the dollar in bonds.
  8. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    I do not believe so, it only forced turn in, but remember everyone was allowed to keep some, and collectors even more.
  9. ZoidMeister

    ZoidMeister Hamlet Squire of Tomfoolery . . . . .

    That was one of my questions as well.

    The second was with the "silver certificates." I suppose they are still legal tender (?) but the promisary note below the denomination? That's no longer valid. Does this equate to "demonetization?"




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  10. CoinBreaux

    CoinBreaux Well-Known Member

    Not exactly US coinage, but Spanish reales (particularly the Spanish dollar) were used quite extensively throughout colonial America. Its stability as a currency was also great. They were considered legal currency until 1857.
  11. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    Yeah they're still legal tender. Demonetization is a legal technicality, one that requires the force of law, just as monetization does. But monetization has other requirements too, like the item has to be deliberately released by the govt. entity. Which is why some items like '33 double eagles are not considered legal or monetized - because the govt. swears they never released any. On the other hand, demonetization only requires the force of law.

    What I mean by legal technicality is just because something is legal tender, that doesn't mean people have to accept it in the course of commerce.
  12. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    Exactly. Too many people do not get this. Once you incur a debt, they have to accept legal tender as payment. However, a store is free to sell things for whatever they like, if you present dollar bills they can say, "sorry, you can only buy this shirt with Zombucks" if they like. Now, if they give you a shirt on credit, and LATER demand only a weird form of payment, you can force them to accept legal tender instead. Courts have ruled that if you show up to pay a debt with legal tender and they refuse the payment, the debt can be considered extinguished.

    You have to have a default method of settling debts in a country, but to trade they can demand anything they want.
  13. John Burgess

    John Burgess Well-Known Member

    there's more than a few banknotes that, while not "demonetized" you'd be hard pressed to ever spend them as they are obsolete and not used or seen in commerce.

    You'd never use a gold quarter eagle to buy a loaf of bread either. it's more like it's obsolete to the point of uselessness in commerce and kept by collectors.

    we don't really "demonetize" with the exception of Roosevelt and Executive Order 6102, to come off the gold standard, other than that, it's been letting it circulate as legal tender and the fed removing it and destroying it until eventually there nothing of it left in circulation, Kind of like what's happening with the older $100 bills with the additional anti counterfeiting measures, you rarely see anything pre-1990s, or the red seal 1966's occasionally you do see the design from 2007-2013 still, but most of it is now the newer 2013 to now design. kind of just keep it legal tender until it's so obsolete it doesn't turn up anymore except in collections.

    As far as older coins and currency, you can take any of it to a federal reserve bank and exchange it for a newer version for face value, even those $2.50 quarter eagles.

    everywhere don't have to take it or for the gold value or silver values, same goes with gold certificates and silver certificates, it's worth the value marked on the certificate in a new bill only.
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  14. Mainebill

    Mainebill Bethany Danielle

    I think gold certificates were demonetized at some point. The trade dollar was too and in 1857 all foreign currency tokens etc was
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  15. John KENT

    John KENT Member

  16. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    Are you sure? I thought all gold and silver certificates were still legal currency, just no longer redeemable for PM but redeemable in other currency.
  17. John KENT

    John KENT Member

  18. Kentucky

    Kentucky Supporter! Supporter

  19. Kentucky

    Kentucky Supporter! Supporter

    Seems as I remember a CT posting where someone was attempting to pay at a drive-thru with a one-ounce AGE for face value, and they wouldn't accept it.
  20. ZoidMeister

    ZoidMeister Hamlet Squire of Tomfoolery . . . . .

    It's annotated ONE DOLLAR.

    I would accept it for a dollar all day long . . . . .

  21. Kentucky

    Kentucky Supporter! Supporter

    Uh...it has the denomination Fifty dollars on the back.
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