Couple questions on flying eagle cents

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by Vess1, Oct 23, 2019.

  1. Vess1

    Vess1 CT SP VIP

    Been looking at flying eagles for years. Bought a cleaned one and got burned. Just traded it off cheap. Now I'm curious...

    Why are mint state flying eagle cents so scarce!? I don't understand this series at all. First of all with such a short lived series, you would have thought everybody would've saved these in large quantities like every other first and last year coin. The mintage figures were not small. 17 million in 1857 and 24+mil in 1858. There should be rolls and rolls of mint state examples that nobody wants. This should be one of the easiest, and cheapest of the small cents to acquire for a type set. Instead, everything you find is well worn, beat up, low eye appeal, cleaned, messed with. (Until you're ready to break out 500 to a grand+.) Why does it take hundreds of dollars just to get a half way decent looking one? Anybody who thinks the hobby is dying, go buy yourself a MS-62 or higher flying eagle. See what they're giving them away for these days. lol Even nice AU examples are rare.

    Next question. Why does NGC not give RD, RB, or BN designation to flying eagles?
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  3. C-B-D

    C-B-D U.S. Type Coins or death!

    These used to be called "white cents," because in high mint state, the copper-nickel composition made them appear whiteish in color. When you compare them to, say, a bronze Indian Cent, you can see the clear differences in color. A bronze Indian Cent starts off cherry-red, then begins to oxidize to a reddish-brown, then eventually gets to a straight brown color. A Flying Eagle Cent can be all over the place in color. Whiteish gold, gold, redish gold, red, red brown, brown, tan. They are really diverse in color, and it just isn't as clear cut as bronze Indians. That's also why NGC nor PCGS will color designate Copper-Nickel Indian Cents.
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  4. Johndoe2000$

    Johndoe2000$ Well-Known Member

    Very nice explanation.
  5. kanga

    kanga 65 Year Collector

    No copper-nickel coins will get a color designation.
    That also applies to 1859 through 1863 IHC's and the early 1864's.
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  6. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    The trouble is the Flying Eagle Cent is really only available to collectors for two years. The 1856 is a high mintage pattern that has commanded high prices for a long time.

    The design is attractive in high grade, and there is type collector demand. "Coin Facts" estimates that there are a little over 7,000 Flyers in MS-60 to 64 and close to 700 pieces in MS-65 or bettter.

    The 1859 Indian Cent without the shield on the reverse is a minor one year type that is recognized by most type collectors. It is scarcer than the Flying Eagle. The copper-nickel Cents are more common that the Flyers. There are over 11,000 in MS-60 to 64. MS-65 and better number over 1,500.

    To answer you question, the higher prices for the Flying Eagle have to do with both supply and demand with demand giving them the bigger push.
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  7. Mainebill

    Mainebill Wild Bill

    Some advice try finding a nice au 58 will cost less than ms grades and have plenty of eye appeal
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  8. TheFinn

    TheFinn Well-Known Member

    And it is hard to find well-struck examples as well. Mintage may seem high, but a cent had buying power 150+ years ago, and many couldn't afford to put these away. They would also carry them around to show or keep in their pockets. There was no such thing as a plastic flip either.
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  9. Conder101

    Conder101 Numismatist

    Also a great many of the cents issued were issued as replacements for the large cents and they had to go into active circulation to fill that role (because the large cents were no longer there.) Also in the early years of the civil war the gold and silver coins disappeared so the cent had to carry the load. (until the nickel content caused them to be hoarded too.)

    As Finn mentioned they had striking issues with the coin as well. Even with only 12 % nickel the mint still had problems with the hardness of the alloy.
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