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HISTORY FACTS * The eagle you see on coins? He has a name *

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HISTORY FACTS * The eagle you see on coins? He has a name * Empty HISTORY FACTS * The eagle you see on coins? He has a name *

Post by Paul Sat 16 Mar 2024, 6:56 am

The eagle once depicted on U.S. coins was a real eagle named Peter.




HISTORY FACTS * The eagle you see on coins? He has a name * Scree193




Not unlike Leo the Lion, who roars at the beginning of many a movie produced by MGM, the eagle seen on early U.S. coins was a real creature with a surprisingly common name: Peter. In a rather patriotic confluence of events, none other than an eagle took residence at the U.S. Mint in the 1830s — roughly 50 years after the bald eagle was added to the national seal. The noble raptor would reportedly while away his days at the mint before being shooed away after working hours. As he and his human colleagues would eventually find out, however, industrial workplaces are no place for birds. Peter was mortally injured after his wing was caught in a coining press in 1836, and died a few days later despite workers’ best efforts to save him.

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But his story does not end there. Peter’s friends and colleagues were not ready to say goodbye to him, as he’d become both a companion and mascot, so they hired a taxidermist and placed his stuffed remains on display in the building’s entrance; he still inhabits the current Philadelphia Mint. Historians believe the eagle featured on the silver dollar issued from 1836 to 1839 was based on the “magnificent specimen” that was Peter, as was the Flying Eagle one-cent piece issued in 1857 and 1858 — a fitting tribute to a bird who clearly inspired many.


By the Numbers



  • Cost (in cents) of producing a penny as of 2022

    2.72




  • Year the Coinage Act established the U.S. Mint

    1792




  • Estimated number of bald eagles in the U.S.

    316,700




  • Year the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act was enacted

    1940








DID YOU KNOW?

Bald eagles are no longer endangered.


As one of the United States’ most prized national symbols, the bald eagle is afforded certain privileges and protections — or at least it has been since habitat loss and DDT left the species teetering on the verge of extinction, with only 417 pairs remaining in 1963. Numbers began to rebound when DDT was banned and the Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973, and eagles were removed from the endangered species list in 2007 — making them one of the act’s greatest success stories. You can hardly look at one the wrong way without breaking the law, as the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act made it illegal to “take, possess, sell, purchase, barter, offer to sell, purchase or barter, transport, export or import, at any time or any manner, any bald eagle ... [or any golden eagle], alive or dead, or any part (including feathers), nest, or egg thereof” without a permit, which isn’t exactly given out freely.
Paul
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