I. R. Bama's Blog

17 Jun 2020

Peter Jefferson the Eagle; Interesting Historical Story

Coins-United States | I. R. Bama

Peter Jefferson was an eagle that actually lived IN the Philadelphia mint during the early to mid 1830's. Back then Eagles actually lived in Philadelphia as hard as that is to believe in today's world. Peter would be let out at night and he would return to the mint every day. He became sort of a pet and mascot. His likeness was used on a number of coins in a design by James Longacre, including one of my favorites to collect, the Flying Eagle Cent.
Unfortunately, Peter had a sad fate. One day he he got his wing caught up in a press when it started up and he was badly injured. Despite the heroic efforts to try to help Peter heal by the mint workers, he did not recover from his injuries and died. It is apparent how beloved he was by the workers at the mint because in addition to being used as a model for the coins, his body was preserved as if he were flying is on display at the mint in Philadelphia today.



Level 6

Great story. I've never been there to see him. I wonder if he is still in good shape. My wife's Grandpa had a dove that lived in his garage. It used to sit on his head as he puttered around. It had a similar sad ending when it got caught up in his drill press. R.I.P. Cookoo. Thanks.

It's Mokie

Level 6

I saw a picture on Facebook yesterday showing a magnificent Eagle flying low over a body of water with his reflection in the water, I wish I could post it here. Eagles are indeed the noblest of Birds, Thanks for sharing your very interesting story.


Level 6

What a cool story! Sad ending, but what an amazing Eagle! Never heard about this. Thanks so much for sharing!

I can remember visiting the Philadelphia Mint back in the late 1970's and always looking up when I entered the main visitor's lobby and seeing Peter perched in his glass case. I recall reading that Frank Gasparro used him as a model for the Eisenhower reverse.

I. R. Bama

Level 5

The human Peter Jefferson was Thomas Jefferson's son. I'm guessing they deliberately named him after the President's son, but I've never seen that referenced anywhere


Level 5

Awesome story. That Eagle knew what they were doing. Loved the mint ! Never heard of this before.


Level 7

Even today people are looking for eagles on the ledges of famous apartments buildings the amazing part across the street from central park. You would figure they would live in that big park. I think Thats nice they still have him. And no one has to clean after him!..


Level 4

Out of all the stories I’ve read, this one is my favorite. It is a short story, but I love to read it any time I come across it. I actually did not know they preserved the body; I want to go see it! Thank you for the interesting post!


Level 6

I always was amazed that an eagle would like in the mint building.

I. R. Bama

Level 5

Me too! I would think it would be way too noisy especially since he allegedly spent the day time inside.....

We use cookies to provide users the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your cookie settings, we'll assume that you agree to receive all cookies on money.org. You may disable cookies at any time using your internet browser configuration. By continuing to use this website, you agree to our privacy policy and terms of use. To learn more about how we use cookies and to review our privacy policy, click here.