Bill Jones small cents
1C FLYING EAGLE (1856-1858)

Obverse:

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Reverse:

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Coin Details

Origin/Country: UNITED STATES
Design Description: CENTS - FLYING EAGLE
Item Description: 1C 1857 EAGLE
Full Grade: PCGS MS 65
Owner: BillJones

Set Details

Custom Sets: This coin is not in any custom sets.
Competitive Sets: Bill Jones' Type Set   Score: 3298
Bill Jones' Type Set Excluding Modern Issues   Score: 3298
Biill Jones Basic Type set with out gold   Score: 3298
Bill Jones small cents   Score: 3298
Research: NGC Coin Explorer NGC Coin Price Guide

Owner Comments:

By 1857 Congress finally recognized the large cent as an anachronism and decided to replace it with a smaller coin. The first of the small cents were made of 88% copper and 12% nickel. The nickel gave the coins a distinctive white color, and people called these pieces “nickels” before the modern nickel five cent piece came along nine years later. These coins were thicker and heavier than the modern cent. The idea was to make the coins look like they were worth a cent, although they really weren't. The ploy apparently worked since the new cents were immediately popular.

Although James Longacre took credit for the Flying Eagle design it was actually a feather for feather copy of the bird that appeared on the reverse of the 1836 Gobrecht Dollar. The design resulted in a handsome coin, but there were technical problems. The head and tail of the eagle, which were opposite the wreath on the reverse were often poorly struck up because of medal flow defects. That resulted in the rapid replacement of the design after only a couple years of production.

The 1857 Flying Eagle Cent displayed above is an unusually well struck example. All of the devices are sharp with not weakness in the usual spots, like the eagle's tail feathers. The has acquired the usual original gray toning which is often seen on these coins.

In August 1857 the Philadelphia Mint set up a booth outside of its offices were citizens could exchange their money for the new "thick, white cents." Many citizens took advantage of this offer.

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