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Picayune – Old-Fashioned Slang for the Half Dime

Coins colloquially called “picayunes”. Left: 1733 Spanish 1/2 real (Image: Heritage Auctions); Center and Right: 1831 United States half cent (Image: Stack’s Bowers).
Coins colloquially called “picayunes”. Left: 1733 Spanish 1/2 real (Image: Heritage Auctions); Center and Right: 1831 United States half cent (Image: Stack’s Bowers).

(n.) Pronounced “pick-ah-YOON”.

Picayune is a regional word for the half dime that was more commonly used in the 19th century. The word comes from an adjective that means small or worthless, which itself comes from the name for a Spanish coin equal to one-sixteenth of a dollar.

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CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes presents expert analysis and insights from Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker, the award-winning editors of CoinWeek.com.

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