The United States one-cent coin (often called a penny, from the British coin of the same name) is a unit of currency equalling one-hundredth of a United States dollar. The cent's symbol is ¢. It has been the lowest-value physical unit of U.S. currency since the abolition of the half-cent in 1857.
The earliest one cent coins were large and made of copper. In 1793, two short-lived types were struck: the Flowing Hair / Chain Cent and the Flowing Hair / Wreath Cent. Their design was met with heavy criticism, so the Philadelphia Mint discontinued them and later in the year updated the denomination to this design featuring a figure of Miss Liberty and a pole (or staff) with a Liberty cap on it, hence the name of the coin type - the Liberty Cap Cent. The Phrygian cap was worn by freed slaves in Ancient Rome, and on American coinage is a symbol of America freed from the tyranny of the English crown.
The coins were made lighter and thinner during 1795, necessitating the abandoning of edge lettering; most 1795 and all 1796 coins have a plain edge.
The coin type was only issued until 1796, after which it was replaced with the Draped Bust type of One Cent coins.
The large copper format of the one cent denomination was discontinued by the Coinage Act of February 21, 1857 and was replaced by a smaller bronze coin. While withdrawn from circulation and not used any more, these coins have never been officially demonetised though.