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“In God We Trust” on coins has a Pennsylvania Connection

United States Coin & Postage Stamp: 2¢ Coin from 1864 & 3¢ Stamp from 1954 (S. H. Smith, 2014)
United States Coin & Postage Stamp: 2¢ Coin from 1864 & 3¢ Stamp from 1954 (S. H. Smith, 2014)

I purchased two old coins for use as chapter illustrations in my historical novel.  The 1¢ coin was utilized as a Chapter 2 header in 2012. The plan was to use the 2¢ coin last year, when novel posts coincided with the 150th Anniversary of the Confederate Invasion of York County.

I put the coins out of harm’s way.  I’m usually pretty organized, however these coins were nowhere to be found last year.  By chance, I found their hiding place last night.

I noticed the 1849 one-cent coin did not have the “In God We Trust” motto, whereas the 1864 two-cent coin had the motto.  I remembered a U. S. Postage stamp also contained the motto.  I wanted to know when “In God We Trust” was first used on coins and stamps.

The Pennsylvania Connection

James M. Pollock was Pennsylvania Governor from 1855 to 1858.  Governor Pollock was known for his role in education.  Early in his first year as governor, he signed the charter for The Farmers’ High School, which grew to become The Pennsylvania State University.  Pollock was responsible for the Normal School Act of 1857; which established regional teacher training institutions throughout the Commonwealth, such as Millersville State Normal School.  Pollock’s decisive actions protected Pennsylvania’s credit rating during the national economic Panic of 1857.  Pollock chose not to run for reelection.

President Abraham Lincoln appointed Pollock Director of the United States Mint at Philadelphia in 1861.  Pollock served in this capacity until being replaced in 1866; however was reappointed by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1869.  In 1873 Pollock was promoted to Superintendent of the Mint and held that position until his retirement in 1879, at the age of 69-years-old.

During the bleak days of the Civil War, Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase asked James Pollock to suggest a motto to be placed on all coins, exalting the trust of our people is in God.  Pollock had several suggestions, the shortest “God We Trust” was selected to which Chase added “In.”  The 1864 two-cent coin was the first coin to bear the motto; now appearing on all United States coins.

The 1954 three-cent Liberty stamp was the first United States Postage stamp to contain the motto, “In God We Trust.”  This stamp was issued during the dark days of the Cold War.  Ten days before this three-cent stamp was issued, the words “under God” had been inserted into the Pledge of Allegiance.

Related posts containing photos of 1849 one-cent coin and 1954 three-cent stamp:

As a side note, this marks my 400th YorksPast Post.

Reading the HEADLINES; A Quick Index to ALL YorksPast Posts