In 1874, John P. Jones, the newly elected senator from Nevada, began advocating in Washington for the production of a 20-cent piece, which he thought might improve the economy of the Far West. Jones believed that Western businesses suffered due to a shortage of small change, and he was able to get the bill establishing the 20-cent piece approved by Congress.
However, design flaws plagued the coin from the outset. While it had a smooth edge unlike other coins, the size of the 20-cent piece was very similar to the size of the quarter. In addition, the obverse of the coin looked almost exactly the same as the obverse of the quarter. Due to its small size, the coin did not include the words “IN GOD WE TRUST” or “E PLURIBUS UNUM.”
This coin was minted from 1875 to 1878 only, due to general public confusion over its resemblance to the well-established quarter dollar. More than a million pieces were struck in its first year, but the mintage number dropped significantly by 1876. Only proof specimens were minted in 1877 and 1878. Today, even the least expensive 20-cent piece from 1875 is worth in excess of $100.