WW II coins:
The coin itself
(you may click on the coins to enlarge the image)
A bit of history
Although war didn’t begin in the US until 1941, I gather all coins form 1939 – 45 as world war two period.
American opinion was hostile on Germany and on Japan, but how much aid to give to the Allies was controversial. By 1940 the U.S., while still neutral, was becoming a supplier of money and war materials. After the defeat of France in spring 1940 the US started to grow its own armed forces.
Taxes were raised for all employed people and lower income was lowered in order to get more taxes. Unemployment levels fell down due to mobilization. And more and more teenagers began to work early replacing other workers. In fact in due years, the nation would go to a huge work force shortage.
The great depression officially lasted until 1941 (according to some sources). For example, in the south the economy levels kept on falling, and people were migrating to the north of the US.
The industrial economy grew rapidly to new heights as millions of people moved to new jobs in war centers. All economic sectors grew during the war.
Even consumer-products plants filled many military orders. Automakers built tanks and aircraft. In an effort to prevent rising national income from causing inflation, the administration set prices for consumer items ranging from sugar to meat, clothing and gasoline, and tried to restrain increases.
As for my thought on the US economy and their behavior during this period I can say a few things.
One is that I think the government saw a great deal in becoming the “arsenal of democracy” in that period. In regard to what many believe, the US supplied not only the allies.
For example most German soldiers were supplied with American dry food and other similar items. War supplies were shipped to any country as long as it wasn’t Japan or USSR.
It was of course the right decision in order to take the country out of economic depression, but did this decision prolong the war or did it help the allies to win it?
What would have happened if the US enter the European was earlier? Well of course not much, since they weren’t prepared. But maybe if they didn’t supply the axis countries with war supplies and enter the war earlier, it could have helped to avoid as many casualties… I can only guess…
As for the coin – it’s a hugely common coin with low value, even if it would to be uncirculated.
Here are some prices form that period, jusde for yourself whether the 1 cent was a lot or not:
Milk: 34 cents/gal ; Eggs: About 45 cents a dozen ; Bread: 8 cents/loaf ; Car: $800 ; House: $6,550 ; Average Annual Salary: $1,900 ; Minimum Wage: 30 cents per hour
Women enter data on punch cards – USA, 1940
All photos of coins are from my own collection