One Cent 1856 Flying Eagle, Coin from United States - detailed information

One Cent 1856 Flying Eagle, Coin from United States
CoinOne Cent 1856 Flying Eagle

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. Their designs changed relatively often; there were three different types in 1793 alone, the Flowing Hair / Chain Cent, the Flowing Hair / Wreath Cent and the Liberty Cap Cent - the latter issued until 1796, after which came the Draped Bust type (1796 to 1807), the so-called Classic Head Cent (1808 to 1814) and the Coronet Cent, also known as Liberty Head (1816 - 1857).

By the early 1850s, the rising price of copper led the Mint of the United States to seek alternatives, including reducing the size of the cent and experimenting with compositions other than pure copper. The result was the Flying Eagle cent, the same diameter as the later Lincoln Cent but somewhat thicker and heavier, composed of 88% copper and 12% nickel. The Flying Eagle cent was struck in limited numbers as a pattern coin in 1856, then for circulation in 1857 and 1858. Like all earlier cents, it was struck at the Philadelphia Mint only.

The obverse design of an eagle in flight is based on that of the Gobrecht Dollar, struck in small quantities from 1836 to 1839. The wreath on the reverse is derived from the Type II gold dollar of 1854, and the three-dollar piece of the same year. It is composed of leaves of wheat, corn, cotton and tobacco, thus including produce associated with both the North and the South. The cotton leaves are sometimes said to be maple leaves; the two types are not dissimilar, and maple leaves are more widely known than cotton leaves. An ear of corn is also visible.

The Flying Eagle cent was issued in exchange for worn Spanish colonial silver coins, which until then had circulated widely in the United States but ceased to be legal tender with the Coinage Act of February 21, 1857 - which also discontinued the large cents and the half cent denomination and introduced the small cent. These small cents were also issued in exchange for the copper coins they had replaced.

Given that the Act authorising the coins was only issued in 1857, all coins dated 1856 were technically speaking illegally struck. At least 634 pieces were given to politicians and other well connected people, as a solicitation for the proposed new type of coin, so these can be considered patterns. However, more coins were struck later - either for "illicit trading" by Mint employees, or to allow the Mint to have coins to barter in order to expand its own foreign coin collection. These restrikes were done in 1857, 1858 and 1860 - with minor variations not easy to distinguish, and not separately listed by catalogues. Some coins made it into circulation; one coin collector managed to amass 756 examples, mostly circulated. Total mintage is variously estimated to be between 1,500 to 2,500 pieces; the Guide Book of United States Coins lists mintage of 2,000 - presumably including the proofs.

MintPhiladelphia Mint Mint MarkNo mint mark Total Mintage2,000
Obverse
United States / One Cent 1856 Flying Eagle - obverse photo

The obverse of the coin shows, within a denticled (toothed) border, an eagle flying to left.

Around above, the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

Around below, the date of issue: 1856.

Obverse Inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1856
Reverse
United States / One Cent 1856 Flying Eagle - reverse photo

On two lines at its centre, the coin displays its value and denomination: ONE CENT, surrounded by a wreath composed of leaves of wheat, corn, cotton and tobacco - including produce associated with both the North and the South states of the United States. The wreath is tied with a ribbon below the value.

Reverse Inscription ONE CENT
EdgePlainEdge InscriptionNone
One Cent 1856 Flying Eagle: Known varieties
Variety Proof
Images United States / One Cent 1856 Flying Eagle / Proof - obverse photo United States / One Cent 1856 Flying Eagle / Proof - reverse photo
Mintage Issued: unknown (included in total)
Showing 100 from a total of 238 coins of type: One Cent
Coin NameMintageSymbol / PortraitLegend
One Cent 1793 Flowing Hair, Chain 36,103 Liberty, Portrait LIBERTY 1793
One Cent 1793 Flowing Hair, Wreath 63,353 Liberty, Portrait LIBERTY 1793
One Cent 1793 Liberty Cap 11,056 Liberty, Portrait LIBERTY 1793
One Cent 1794 Liberty Cap 918,521 Liberty, Portrait LIBERTY 1794
One Cent 1795 Liberty Cap 538,500 Liberty, Portrait LIBERTY 1795
One Cent 1796 Liberty Cap 109,825 Liberty, Portrait LIBERTY 1796
One Cent 1796 Draped Bust 363,375 Liberty, Portrait LIBERTY 1796
One Cent 1797 Draped Bust 897,510 Liberty, Portrait LIBERTY 1797
One Cent 1798 Draped Bust 1,841,745 Liberty, Portrait LIBERTY 1798
One Cent 1799 Draped Bust 42,540 Liberty, Portrait LIBERTY 1799
One Cent 1800 Draped Bust 2,822,175 Liberty, Portrait LIBERTY 1800
One Cent 1801 Draped Bust 1,362,837 Liberty, Portrait LIBERTY 1801
One Cent 1802 Draped Bust 3,435,100 Liberty, Portrait LIBERTY 1802
One Cent 1803 Draped Bust 3,131,691 Liberty, Portrait LIBERTY 1803
One Cent 1804 Draped Bust 96,500 Liberty, Portrait LIBERTY 1804
One Cent 1805 Draped Bust 941,116 Liberty, Portrait LIBERTY 1805
One Cent 1806 Draped Bust 348,000 Liberty, Portrait LIBERTY 1806
One Cent 1807 Draped Bust 727,221 Liberty, Portrait LIBERTY 1807
One Cent 1808 Classic Head 1,007,000 Liberty, Portrait ******* 1808 ******
One Cent 1809 Classic Head 222,867 Liberty, Portrait ******* 1809 ******
One Cent 1810 Classic Head 1,458,500 Liberty, Portrait ******* 1810 ******
One Cent 1811 Classic Head 218,025 Liberty, Portrait ******* 1811 ******
One Cent 1812 Classic Head 1,075,500 Liberty, Portrait ******* 1812 ******
One Cent 1813 Classic Head 418,000 Liberty, Portrait ******* 1813 ******
One Cent 1814 Classic Head 357,830 Liberty, Portrait ******* 1814 ******
One Cent 1816 Matron Head 2,820,982 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1816
One Cent 1817 Matron Head 3,948,400 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1817
One Cent 1818 Matron Head 3,167,000 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1818
One Cent 1819 Matron Head 2,671,000 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1819
One Cent 1820 Matron Head 4,407,550 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1820
One Cent 1821 Matron Head 389,000 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1821
One Cent 1822 Matron Head 2,072,339 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1822
One Cent 1823 Matron Head 1,262,000 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1823
One Cent 1824 Matron Head 1,262,000 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1824
One Cent 1825 Matron Head 1,461,100 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1825
One Cent 1826 Matron Head 1,517,425 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1826
One Cent 1827 Matron Head 2,357,732 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1827
One Cent 1828 Matron Head 2,260,624 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1828
One Cent 1829 Matron Head 1,414,500 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1829
One Cent 1830 Matron Head 1,711,500 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1830
One Cent 1831 Matron Head 3,359,260 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1831
One Cent 1832 Matron Head 2,362,000 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1832
One Cent 1833 Matron Head 2,739,000 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1833
One Cent 1834 Matron Head 1,855,100 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1834
One Cent 1835 Matron Head 3,878,400 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1835
One Cent 1836 Matron Head 2,111,000 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1836
One Cent 1837 Young Head 5,558,300 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1837
One Cent 1838 Young Head 6,370,200 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1838
One Cent 1839 Young Head 3,128,661 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1839
One Cent 1840 Braided Hair 2,462,700 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1840
One Cent 1841 Braided Hair 1,597,367 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1841
One Cent 1842 Braided Hair 2,383,390 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1842
One Cent 1843 Braided Hair 2,425,342 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1843
One Cent 1844 Braided Hair 2,398,752 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1844
One Cent 1845 Braided Hair 3,894,804 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1845
One Cent 1846 Braided Hair 4,120,800 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1846
One Cent 1847 Braided Hair 6,183,669 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1847
One Cent 1848 Braided Hair 6,415,799 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1848
One Cent 1849 Braided Hair 4,178,500 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1849
One Cent 1850 Braided Hair 4,426,844 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1850
One Cent 1851 Braided Hair 9,889,707 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1851
One Cent 1852 Braided Hair 5,063,094 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1852
One Cent 1853 Braided Hair 6,641,131 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1853
One Cent 1854 Braided Hair 4,236,156 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1854
One Cent 1855 Braided Hair 1,574,829 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1855
One Cent 1856 Flying Eagle 2,000 Flying Eagle UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1856
One Cent 1856 Braided Hair 2,690,463 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1856
One Cent 1857 Flying Eagle 17,450,485 Flying Eagle UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1857
One Cent 1857 Braided Hair 333,456 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1857
One Cent 1858 Flying Eagle 24,600,300 Flying Eagle UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1858
One Cent 1859 Indian Head 36,400,800 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1859
One Cent 1860 Indian Head 20,567,000 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1860
One Cent 1861 Indian Head 10,101,000 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1861
One Cent 1862 Indian Head 28,075,550 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1862
One Cent 1863 Indian Head 49,840,460 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1863
One Cent 1864 Indian Head (CuproNickel) 13,740,370 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1864
One Cent 1864 Indian Head (Bronze) 39,233,899 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1864
One Cent 1865 Indian Head 35,429,786 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1865
One Cent 1866 Indian Head 9,827,225 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1866
One Cent 1867 Indian Head 9,821,625 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1867
One Cent 1868 Indian Head 10,267,100 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1868
One Cent 1869 Indian Head 6,420,600 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1869
One Cent 1870 Indian Head 5,276,000 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1870
One Cent 1871 Indian Head 3,930,460 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1871
One Cent 1872 Indian Head 4,042,950 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1872
One Cent 1873 Indian Head 11,677,600 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1873
One Cent 1874 Indian Head 14,188,200 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1874
One Cent 1875 Indian Head 13,528,700 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1875
One Cent 1876 Indian Head 7,945,150 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1876
One Cent 1877 Indian Head 853,400 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1877
One Cent 1878 Indian Head 5,799,850 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1878
One Cent 1879 Indian Head 16,231,200 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1879
One Cent 1880 Indian Head 38,964,955 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1880
One Cent 1881 Indian Head 39,211,575 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1881
One Cent 1882 Indian Head 38,581,100 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1882
One Cent 1883 Indian Head 45,598,109 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1883
One Cent 1884 Indian Head 23,261,742 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1884
One Cent 1885 Indian Head 11,765,384 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1885
One Cent 1886 Indian Head 17,654,290 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1886
One Cent 1887 Indian Head 45,226,483 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1887
Showing 1 to 100 of 238 Coins.
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One Cent 1856 Flying Eagle: Details
CountryUnited States
CurrencyUS Dollar
Coin TypeOne Cent, Flying Eagle
Issued1856
SymbolFlying Eagle
Face Value1 (x Cent)
Total Mintage2,000
CurrentNo
MaterialCuproNickel
DesignerJames Barton Longacre
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
ShapeRound
OrientationCoin Alignment (Axis 6)
Size19.000 mm
Mass4.670 g
OCC IDRWKZ-EJNC-JWRJ-EXGL
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One Cent 1856 Flying Eagle: Photos
ImageDetails
Flying Eagle Cent 1856 - Proof
Copyright: PCGS
Notes: Proof.
Source
Flying Eagle Cent 1856 - Proof
Copyright: PCGS
Notes: Proof.
Source
Flying Eagle Cent 1856
Copyright: PCGS
Source
Flying Eagle Cent 1856
Copyright: PCGS
Source
One Cent 1856 Flying Eagle: Catalogue Reference IDs
SourceReference ID
Krause, Standard Catalog of World CoinsUnited States KM# 85