The Flying Eagle Cent, a perennially in style coin amongst collectors, has its origins in a copper scarcity within the U.S. within the 1850s.1857 Flying Eagle

Whereas copper has a wealthy historical past and was first utilized in cash round 8000 B.C.—in the USA within the 1850s—copper mining had but to achieve its heyday.

Evaluate these numbers for perspective. In 1845, copper manufacturing totaled a mere 13 tons in Michigan (the most important copper producer in America on the time). That quantity jumped to 7,170 tons in Michigan twenty years later!

So, within the 1850s, U.S. Mint officers reported problem breaking even whereas making giant cent copper cash, as the worth for the uncooked steel was climbing quick.

What’s extra, People simply didn’t like the big copper cents. Folks complained they have been ugly, heavy and picked up grime simply.

The Passing of the Torch from the Giant Cent to the Small Cent

An answer was put ahead. The Treasury had been experimenting with a brand new small cent sample coin in 1856. The small cent was about half the burden of the big cent, which might considerably cut back the Mint’s manufacturing prices.

Whereas giant cents weighed in at 10.89 grams, the brand new Flying Eagle sample coin struck in 1856 clocked in at considerably decrease 4.67 grams and was constructed from 88% copper and 12% nickel.

Congress and the Public Embraced the Flying Eagle Cent

Mint officers distributed the 1856 Flying Eagle cent sample coin to Treasury officers, members of Congress and different VIPs as they thought-about the laws. Extra 1856 proof items have been struck for collectors and the early cash have been snapped up rapidly. Whereas 2,000 sample cash have been minted in 1856, at this time survivors are extraordinarily uncommon and extremely fascinating.

For the reason that coin met the approval of Congressional members, the Act of February 21, 1857 created official authorization for a brand new small cent constructed from a mix of copper and nickel.

The identical 1857 legislation created a provision the place People may flip of their older cents, and likewise Spanish or Mexican cash that have been generally utilized in commerce at the moment, for the brand new small cent.

When the Mint started official distribution of the Flying Eagle Cent in Might 1857, lengthy strains fashioned on the Mint as folks needed to commerce of their outdated cash for the shiny new smaller cent.

Immediately, we take into account Flying Eagle to be copper cash, however at their launch they have been lovingly referred to as “nicks” in reference to their nickel content material. Whereas the general public clamored for these cash and adoption was swift, the Flying Eagle was solely minted till 1858. Immediately, it’s believed that placing issues have been occurring with the high-relief on the design. The Indian Head cent changed the Flying Eagle in 1859.

Mint Chief Engraver James Barton Longacre Designed This Pleasant Coin

The obverse contains a left-facing eagle with its wings outstretched in flight. Across the prime, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA encircles the highest two-thirds of the coin, with the date at backside. The picture of the eagle was influenced by work from Longacre’s predecessor, Christian Gobrecht. On the reverse, an in depth wreath comprised of leaves, corn seed heads, wheat, cotton and tobacco is wrapped in a ribbon. Centered on the reverse are the phrases ONE CENT. All cash have been minted at Philadelphia and so there are not any mint marks on the cash.

Gathering Flying Eagle Cents

The thrilling historical past, arresting design and its stature as the primary small cent make Flying Eagle Cents a extremely collected sequence. Collectors sometimes need to purchase the 1856 sample and the 1857 and 1858 cash. Moreover, there are three varieties within the sequence and collectors sometimes attempt to acquire all of them together with the 1858 Double Die Obverse (1858/7), 1858 Giant Letters and 1858 Small Letters. Are you intrigued? See this lovely coin right here.

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