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Kevin Leab's Blog

07 Mar 2021

Flying Eagle Cents 101

| Kevin Leab

When we think of the Flying Eagle Cents we think its only a two year series....not counting the proof 1856 coin. We are all familiar with the 1857 and the 1858 Large Letters and Small Letter varieties.... But wait....there is so much more to these small but exciting coins!! The 1856 Flying Eagle was meant to be a pattern coin for the series and only 2,000 of these coins were minted. Designed by James B. Longacre and meant to take the place of the Large Cent...there were actually 2 different One Cent coins in circulation in 1857, the Large Cent and the 1857 Flying Eagle Cent. Anyway, 1857 was the first year of production for circulating Flying Eagle Cents....of which 17,450,000 coins were minted that year. But there are two varieties of these....One of which may or may not be known by you if you're not familiar or have studied the series. In the beginning of 1857 some dies from 1856 were used to strike the obverse, resulting in the variety 1857 reverse of 1856. "The "0" of the word "Of" was thinner than the new 1857 design". (I have included images) ...and the serifs on the "E" in "States" and the "F" in "Of" are larger so much as they almost touch the line above.You may be more familiar with the 1858 8/7 variety... Besides the Large and Small letter variety, this is the only other variety listed in the "Red Book". To the top right of the 8 in the date there is a faint but visible "7" Some of us may need a loupe to see this. BUT another indicator of this variety is the broken wing tip between "OF" and "AMERICA". The tip of the wing may be slightly attached or completely separated from the rest of the wing. This is more obvious and can be easily detected with the naked eye. This variety is not easily found. Another variety is the 1858 "High Leaves" and "Low Leaves" coins....All of the coins minted in 1857 were of the "High Leaf" variety. Some of the reverse dies used in 1857 were used in 1858 also, creating two different reverse varieties in 1858 (see attached photo). From the wreath there are two leaves that stick up near the "C" and the "T" in the word "CENT". In the "High Leaf" variety these leaves almost touch the "C" and the "T". In the "Low Leaf" variety it doesn't come close. There is also a "Type 3" of this variety that is the "open" "E" where the serifs are much smaller. There are many different varieties in the Flying Eagle series if you want to get more advanced into collecting these beautiful coins...there are many die clash varieties, too many to mention here. Also, according to Snows attribution guide there are 41 circulation strike varieties for 1857 and 1858 which are mostly double dies and repunched dates. If you want to dive into this collection and attempt to get them all then all I can do is wish you luck. It will definitely be a lifelong journey...
Thanks for readingKevin Leab

Comments

Long Beard

Level 5

What's interesting about the 1856 mentioned is that there were re-strikes. 634 were struck in 1856 and passed off to politicians and well connected individuals. With the general public's dislike of the cumbersome large cent the small cent was a huge success. With circulation striking beginning in 1857, and word of the previous year's existence spreading, collectors and dealers rushed to the Philadelphia mint to acquire an example. You could do just that back then. Anyhow, with such demand for the 1856 the mint struck more of them in 1858 and 1859 to satisfy demand, which was apparently tremendous. While exact totals of re-strikes are unknown, collector John Beck was held 531 of them and another 756 were in the collection of George W. Rice.

Kevin Leab

Level 4

Thank you Long Beard.....

TheNumisMaster

Level 5

Thank you! I just received a few of these, and was wondering how to organize them. This helped a LOT! Thanks again!

Kevin Leab

Level 4

You're certainly welcome!

CoinHunter

Level 5

Great blog! Thanks for the information.

Mokie

Level 6

Really enjoyed your blog, I am going to have to check my FE Cents very soon.

Kevin Leab

Level 4

Thanks Mokie!!

coinsbygary

Level 5

This a fascinating blog. When I read your blog, the first thing I did was to check my 1858 flying-eagle cent for the leaf variety. It seems that my variety is the high leaf variety with a double-die obverse. The following link will take you to my coin. https://www.ngccoin.com/registry/competitive-sets/73886/coins/1208209/ click on the obverse to enlarge the picture to view the double-die clearly. My "E" serif in the word one is almost entirely closed, while the "E" in the word cents is open.

Kevin Leab

Level 4

Thank you...that was the first thing I did also when I learned about the varieties. What I didn't have I tried to find and I bought the ones I found. I haven't searched for a while so I need to get to it again.

Kepi

Level 6

Great blog! Thanks for all your research! I really like the Flying Eagle series. Beautiful Proof photo! ; )

Kevin Leab

Level 4

Thank you Kepi! So do I. I have a few of the varieties but not near all of them.

"SUN"

Level 5

Thanks for sharing this information. There is so much to learn on the different coin series.

Kevin Leab

Level 4

You're welcome! Thanks for reading!

Golfer

Level 5

Very interesting and informative. I don't have any flying eagle cents. Just never got into collecting any of them. Thanks for a good blog post though. I enjoy reading about flying eagle cents.

Kevin Leab

Level 4

You're welcome! I'm glad that you enjoyed it.

Mike

Level 7

Thanks you opened my eyes on that coin. Very good . Today I lerned. That's what it's about fun coins and learning. . You have us all three. Thanks!!

Kevin Leab

Level 4

You're very welcome my friend

Longstrider

Level 6

Excellent blog. A beautiful coin series. I have learned a great deal from you today. Flying eagle VAMs. Fantastic. Thanks.

Kevin Leab

Level 4

Thank you ....and you're very welcome

Stumpy

Level 5

Thank you for the great blog, I learned more from this than you might realize. A beautiful coin with excellent photos to help us understand your information. Thanks Pally!

Kevin Leab

Level 4

Hey Stumpy! Thanks...and you're very welcome

I. R. Bama

Level 5

Great blog Kevin. Maybe my most favorite. I learned a lot more about them today. I would like to collect all the varieties but I don't know if that goal is out of reach

Kevin Leab

Level 4

Thank you very much. This is one of my favorite series. I'm glad that this helped you today and if you choose to take on this series with all of the varieties and actually complete it, you would have something very special there

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