1856 marked an auspicious yr within the historical past of the US Mint. From the very beginning, one cent items had been a staple of United States coins. Everybody knew their look and their feel. Everybody was comfortable with the coin, till 1856.
Since the beginning of US coinage, the face of the one cent piece had featured an outline of the goddess Liberty. Admittedly, there had been a number of completely different depictions of Liberty, with every offering its coin with an fascinating identify. Flowing Hair Cents had been produced by the US Mint from 1793 through 1796, after they have been changed by Draped Bust Cents. The Classic Head Cent design was the design produced from 1808 through 1814 when it was changed by the Coronet Head Cent. Lastly, the Braided Hair Cent took center stage in 1839. It was additionally known as the “Silly Head” or the “Booby Head” Cent. The Braided Hair Cent was produced by 1857.
Individuals started to object to carrying round these coins. Some individuals mentioned the coins have been too giant, with a diameter of 27.5 millimeters (retailers complained that the coins “clogged up” their tills). There were complaints that the coins had been too heavy, weighing in at a hefty 10.89 grams. The general public appeared to be prepared for a change in its pennies.
In 1856 the US Mint started producing a smaller, lighter one cent coin. The Flying Eagle Cent was the primary of what collectors now refer to as “Small Cents” (weighing 4.7 grams with a diameter of 19 millimeters) contrasted with the one cent coins heretofore produced being dubbed “Large Cents.”
The general public didn’t like the coin. The Flying Eagle Cent didn’t include pure copper, as had all one earlier one cent coins. It was 88% copper and 12% nickel. The lighter shade brought about the general public to derogatorily check with the brand new cent as the “white cent.” Folks weren’t happy with the design either. Though design on the obverse (or face) of James Barton Longacre’s coin depicts an Eagle in Flight, folks typically referred to the coin as the “Buzzard Cent.”
Officers at the US Mint had been embarrassed. They rapidly made plans to revamp the coin. Longacre was commissioned to supply the brand new design. The Eagle was eliminated, and Liberty returned to the entrance of the one cent coin, this time sporting a Native American headdress. The Indian Head Cent stays probably the most in style coins ever produced by the US Mint, whereas the Flying Eagle Cent took its place among the many coins with the briefest mintage in US historical past…just two years (1857-1858).
By the way, for those who occur to discover a Flying Eagle Cent bearing the date 1856, you’d be well-advised to take the coin to an expert to have it evaluated. The 1856 coins have been solely produced as examples to be offered to Congress and different officials to encourage them to help the coin’s acceptance. As soon as the vote was taken, legislators have been alleged to return the coins to the US Treasury. The coins have been imagined to be destroyed, and minting of the Flying Eagle Cent to start in 1857.
By some means, not the entire coins made their way back to the Mint. Evidently a few of them had been saved as souvenirs by varied individuals. The coins’ rarity brought about their collector’s value to soar. Now, even essentially the most mediocre specimens of the 1856 Flying Eagle Cent sell for in excess of $5,000, with the nicest of those coins anticipated to deliver nicely in excess of $100,000. (The Professional Coin Grading Service lists the worth of the best grade Flying Eagles they’ve licensed as $150,000.) Evidently, counterfeiters have taken notice of those numbers and have taken steps to aim to defraud folks by producing and selling fakes.
So a set of Flying Eagle Cents consists of three coins . . . the 1857, and two varieties (Large Letters and Small Letters) of the 1858. You should purchase enticing specimens of all three coins for a total of lower than $200.