Featured Flying Eagle Cents-Changing Times

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by Collecting Nut, Mar 12, 2021.

  1. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    The last large cent was produced in 1857 with small and large dates. The total mintage was 333,546. The changes were brought about because the cost of making and distributing copper coins had risen. James Snowden, the Mint Director, reported that they "barely paid expenses."

    At the same time, both half cents and large cents had become unpopular in circulation. The 1857 Half Cent only had a mintage of 35,180 coins. Cents and half cents were the first coins struck for circulation by the United States. Production started in 1793. That law specified that the Cent should weigh exactly twice as much as the Half Cent. Circulation outside of large cities of these two coins was almost unheard of.

    The practice of issuing silver coinage, which began in 1853 brought about the change of copper coinage. The law of 1857 brought important benefits to the citizens of the US. The half cent and the large cent we're both abandoned in 1857. The law also took Spanish coins and redeemed them, melting them at the mint in exchange for the new smaller Cents.

    The decimal system became popular and the old method of reckoning in reales, medios, shillings and so on was given up but the term two bits and Penny were still commonly used. The new Convenient smaller cent won popular favor and soon became very useful in retail bringing a boom to commerce.

    The act of February 21, 1857 provided for the new copper-nickel small cent. It also called for Spanish and Mexican coins, Half Cents and Large Cents in circulation to be brought in and exchanged for US silver coins and the new smaller cents. The cent weighed 72 grains and contained a composition of 88% copper and 12% nickel.

    The 1856 flying eagle cent was a pattern coin. It was made to show Congress how the new Cent would look. Between 2000 and 3000 pieces were struck in proof for sale to collectors. They are difficult to come by because of the early widespread popularity of the flying eagle Cent.
    The 1857 and 1858 pieces contain a number of varieties. The 1858 has two major varieties. A large letter variety, were the last "A" in America almost touches the Eagles left wing. There is also space between the top of the Eagles right wing between the "F" in the word "OF" and the "A" in AMERICA as noted in the photo below. This photo also shows a die crack running through the word AMERICA. IMG_4547.JPG
    The small letters show on the photo below. This photo shows a weak strike, possibly from a grease filled Die. IMG_4548.JPG
    The reverse on all Flying Eagle Cents is the same.
    There is also in 1858, 8/7, variety. This can be identified by a small dot in the field just above the last 8. This was caused by the die being ground down until the seven was invisible but the very corner of the 7 seems to show on some varieties making them more desirable.

    Attached Files:

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  3. Robert Ransom

    Robert Ransom Well-Known Member

    Nice write-up, CN.
    Collecting Nut likes this.
  4. ldhair

    ldhair Clean Supporter

    Fun coin.
    This is actually a die clash. The Cent die was clashed with the die from the 1857 Seated Half Dollar. There were several interesting clashes that year.
    Collecting Nut likes this.
  5. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    Thanks @ldhair I tried but I could not locate mine. I have a much better one than this so I didn't mention it.
  6. Danomite

    Danomite What do you say uh-huh

    Nice write up! Love the FE’s.
    Collecting Nut likes this.
  7. Bambam8778

    Bambam8778 Well-Known Member

    The Flying Eagle cent has always been a favorite of mine and such a classic of U.S. coinage! I wish we would have some new designs with such class as this!
  8. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    That would be so refreshing!
    Mac McDonald likes this.
  9. Conder101

    Conder101 Numismatist

    But only for a short period. The exchange of so many large cents and spanish silver put a huge number of coins into commerce where they became a real headache for the merchants because they were not legal tender. So many started piling up in the banks that they began refusing them. This caused them to then back up in merchants tills. This left the merchants with "money" they couldn't use. they couldn't deposit it at the bank and suppliers could and did refuse large sums in payment. Often the only way merchants could get rid of them was to sell them to brokers at a discount.
  10. halfcent1793

    halfcent1793 Well-Known Member

    Silver coinage actually began in 1794 and gold in 1795.
    Stevearino and AuldFartte like this.
  11. Mr.Q

    Mr.Q Well-Known Member

    The Flying Eagle is a beautiful coin, I would hate to see it made into a Zincoln. If it were made exact, yes, if not, leave it alone. My opinion only.
  12. Stevearino

    Stevearino Well-Known Member

    @Mr. Q, it would have to be a 5 or 10 cent denomination...and perhaps copper could be used instead of zincolns.

  13. Mr.Q

    Mr.Q Well-Known Member

    That would be nice if it were Steve. Thanks for the input.
  14. John Wright

    John Wright Well-Known Member

    I wrote (in my biased opinion) a great article expanding on the topic of this post. See it below. 1857 3 Small Cent Source    PCGS.jpg

    Attached Files:

    halfcent1793 and mike estes like this.
  15. John Wright

    John Wright Well-Known Member

    Before 1857 foreign silver and US large cents and half cents circulated freely even though they were not "Legal Tinder". The government allowed redemption of these for a ten-year window (1857-1867) even though they did not "legally" circulate any longer. After that, they were just scrap-bullion.
    halfcent1793 likes this.
  16. Thelivinglady

    Thelivinglady Member

    Great article.
    Collecting Nut likes this.
  17. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    Thank you
  18. mike estes

    mike estes Well-Known Member

    great write up Collecting Nut and the flying eagle has always been a favorite of mine. great write up John Wright, i really like the SS Central America info. 21 tons of California gold laid on the bottom of the ocean for that many years and a lot of those coins that were salvaged looked freshly minted. i really like to have one. thanks to the both of you. good stuff....
    Collecting Nut likes this.
  19. Conder101

    Conder101 Numismatist

    That's true, and the flying eagles ciirculated as well, but so many were pur into circulation in a short time and they did clog the channels of commerce to the point of being refused.

    The large cent continued to circulate to some extent long after 1857 as well. In the annual mint reports through at least the turn of the 20th century there are figures most years of the number of copper cents returned for recoinage by the Treasury to the mint.
    Collecting Nut and Stevearino like this.
  20. john65999

    john65999 Well-Known Member

    one of my favorite coins, along with the half cent, 2 cent piece, half dimes and other oddities..., i really wish they made more of the flying eagle cents, why did they stop and start making indigenous person's cents?? ( a little pc there, lol)
    Collecting Nut and Stevearino like this.
  21. Conder101

    Conder101 Numismatist

    Part of the problem was due to striking and the coppernickel alloy the areas where the eagle overlapped the wreath often would not strike up well due to the hardness of the alloy. There was also the problem that in the coinage laws where the designs were specified it called for the use of the eagle on the US coins, but it does specify that on the coins of ten cents or less the eagle is to be omitted. So technically the design of the Flying eagle cent was illegal.
    john65999, Stevearino and ldhair like this.
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