CoinHunter's Blog

18 Dec 2020

Flying Eagle Cents

Coins | CoinHunter

Today I will be talking about flying eagle cents. Flying eagles were a result of the increasingly unpopular large cents in the 1840s because of the fact that they weren't legal tender (only silver and gold coins were legal tender in the United States) and because of this they were refused at most places or accepted at a huge discount which was even worse. By 1851, it was costing the Mint $1.06 to strike one dollar in 1-cent coins, they were losing money by making them! The diameter of the 1-cent coin was based off of British penny denomination (which is probably why some people still call our one-cent coins "pennies" which is technically incorrect). Because of the increasing price of minting large cents, experimental cent patterns and various proposals for different metal compositions for a Small Cent began to be explored. As blanks for large cents became not only expensive, but also almost unavailable, Mint Director James R. Snowden decided to strike a Small Cent of 88% copper and 12% nickel at a weight of 4.67 grams (Large Cents have a weight of 10.89 grams and are composed of pure copper beginning in 1795).

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