[Daily article] February 12: Indian Head gold pieces

The Indian Head gold pieces were two coin series struck by the United
States Mint: a two-and-a-half dollar piece, or quarter eagle
(1908–1915, 1925–1929), and a five-dollar coin, or half eagle
(1908–1916, 1929). The only US coins with recessed (engraved) designs
ever to enter circulation, they were the last of a long series of coins
in those denominations. President Theodore Roosevelt vigorously
advocated new coin designs, and had the Mint engage his friend, the
sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, to design coins that could be changed
without congressional authorization. The sculptor completed an eagle
($10 piece) and double eagle before his death in 1907. Roosevelt
convinced Mint Director Frank Leach to reproduce the eagle’s design on
both of the smaller coins, but recessed below the background. The job
fell to Boston sculptor Bela Lyon Pratt, and after some difficulty, the
Mint was able to strike the coins, though Pratt was unhappy with
modifications made by the Mint’s engravers. The quarter eagle enjoyed
popularity as a Christmas present, but neither coin circulated much.

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Today’s selected anniversaries:


Isabella I issued an edict outlawing Islam in the Crown of
Castile, forcing virtually all her Muslim subjects to convert to


Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan, was
founded as the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan, the United
States’ first agricultural college.


The British Royal Navy concluded Operation Deadlight, its
operation to scuttle German U-boats that had been captured during World
War II.


While claiming the right of innocent passage through Soviet
territorial waters in the Black Sea American cruiser USS Yorktown and
destroyer USS Caron were bumped by Soviet warships (pictured).


Two-year-old James Bulger was led away from New Strand Shopping
Centre in Bootle, England, and brutally murdered by two ten-year-old
boys, who became the youngest convicted murderers in modern English

Wiktionary’s word of the day:

(geology) The current geological period, in which human activities have
a powerful effect on the global environment.

Wikiquote quote of the day:

  Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge
of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until
all the wealth piled by the bondman’s two hundred and fifty years of
unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with
the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said
three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the
Lord are true and righteous altogether.”  
–Abraham Lincoln

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