Big Nub Numismatics's Blog

22 Jun 2018

The Very "Clashy" Flying Eagle Cents

Coins | Big Nub Numismatics

Many people love Flying Eagle cents. The first of the small cents, and minted right before the civil war in midst of political uproar. Following the coinage legislation of 1857, Spanish coins and large cents were to be melted, and exchanged for the new Flying Eagle small cent. A wonderful design from James B. Longacre. The large cents with the rise of copper prices could barely make a profit. This, and the longing for U.S. currency to be the only currency used in America was the breaking point. This act was a turning point in America's financial independence. The flying eagle is quite interesting, with its 1856 proofs, undated examples, and strong strikes. Most interestingly though were the die clashes.In 1857, the new Flying Eagle cent had some problems bumping into other coins. Three different varieties of a clash with this new cent have been recorded, one with a seated liberty quarter, one with a seated liberty half-dollar, and one with a double eagle. I have only personally seen one of these, and it blew my mind how something like this could have happened. I think this is second in curiosity only to "mule" coins.The die clash with the quarter is very prominent along the reverse, and is known as FS-01-1857-901, or snow-8 1857. Coins with these die closes are prized, as only 81-106 are known to exist. This variety graded as MS-63BN can be worth $2,750. The 1857, obverse 50 cent clash is the most available, having a rarity of URS-11, of these die clashes, with an estimated 258-512 being made. Not exceedingly rare, compared with others, but is immensely hard to find. Most examples are almost exactly centered within the half-dollar, making it look like this "mistake" was intentional. The rarest, and most worn, are the 1857, obverse $20 clash. Having a rarity of URS-7, these are hard to find. These gold double-eagles have their busts interrupted by the mirrored flying-eagle design. About 50-75 of these exist. None are known to be above mint state, but one, if found, it could fetch over $15,000. These examples cannot be missed, every one of these are clearly punched by the flying eagle, and the one cent. Most of the partnered cents that show the die clash are not very clear. Only seen in the fields of the design is the information. You can easily miss the shallow seated liberty, and double-eagle design, they look somewhat like a break in the die. The way each example is oriented makes me think that this was not a mistake. The designs are almost perfectly placed together, making even more odd. Whoever was in charge of these did not do a good job, but I thank for this. Without this "mistake" these would never have been able to exist.

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