Here is my response to your brass 1859 question: First, you can't tell a brass cent by dropping it on a hard surface. You must take the coins into sunlight/daylight .. no artificial light. Gently scratch the edge of the coin with a diamond(best) or glass shard. If it's brass, the bare metal will be yellowish .. but even the bronze is a little yellowish if you try to wish too hard. The specific wieghts and actual percentages of the alloy mix for the planchets was not always the same. The samll percentages of tin or zinc in the copper alloy makes the determination of what constitues "brass" as defined by Haxby, Charlton, or others very difficult. It is my belief and that of other major variety collectors that the "brass" cent was made by accident and not a planned Mint product. I think of it more as an "error" than anything. I am 99.99% sure that you don't have a brass one.