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user_98698's Blog

01 Sep 2019

Braided Hair Cent

Coins-United States | user_98698

The U.S. Braided Hair cent was minted from 1839-1857. The cent showed greater uniformity than the other coins that had come before it, this was because of the steam powered dies. The coin itself was designed by Chief Engraver Christian Gobrecht. Many people inside and outside of the mint did not like the overall design of the coin and criticized it. The coin was mostly criticized for the small head and silly, younger looking head with the appearance of leaning forward. The Obverse of the coin has the head of Liberty surrounded by 13 stars, for the 13 original colonies. On the reverse of the coin is the civic wreath surrounding the words “One Cent.” Outside of the wreath is the words “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.”

The Braided Hair cent had a few “key” dates. Two of which are the 1844/81 and 1851/81. There had never been so many coins of the same type minted before in American history. The main reason for that is the steam powered dies that were much more efficient than hammering or pressing. There were 1.5 to 9 million coins made each year (besides 1857). All of the Braided Hair coins were made at the Philadelphia mint. This meant that there was no need to have a mint mark because there was only one mint. There are proof coins for all years with the exception of 1839, 1851, and 1853. All proofs made are rare or extremely rare.

The public was the largest reason for making the one cent coin. This was because people really needed a small denomination coin. Sadly, people did not like the cents even before the Braided Hair design. They found that they were too large, heavy, and were often found really worn or corroded. This caused for merchants to use their own form of currency. This would be store tokens. Even though people did not want to use the coin for its purpose, they were used for different things. For example, craftsman would melt them down for the copper content. They would do this because of the rising copper. The coins were even sent overseas to be a payment for slaves. However, there were very few people that were happy with the cent. Even the chief engraver of the coin was not satisfied by the design of the coin.

Numismatics today collect high quality versions of this coin because of its beauty. When grading the coin you must look for wear at the hair above the ear, on the bow, and the wreath. These are areas to look at when buying a (raw) coin. Overall this coin is a great investment and would be a great coin to add to your collection.


Comments

Mike

Level 7

When you write like this it doesn't sound like you. That's what we want to know where you got the information.

Longstrider

Level 6

How about a bibliography?? That's a lot of research.

Kepi

Level 6

Thanks for the research! A photo would be a nice addition.

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