Large Cents (1793-1857)

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Large Cents

APMEX offers a superb selection of Large Cents. Large Cents are very widely collected in America. They are the link to our Founding Fathers and represent a beautiful series of coins. An important issue is the 1793 Large Cent. It was one of the first coins struck by the U.S. Mint, the 1793 Large Cents come in three types: the “Chain” Cent, the “Wreath” Cent and the “Liberty Cap” design. Large Cents were minted between 1793 and 1857.

Design of the Early Large Cent Pieces

Large Cents featured a variety of designs from their introduction until they were replaced by the smaller-sized Flying Eagle cent in 1857. The earliest issues featured Henry Voigt’s flowing hair obverse, paired first with the famed Chain Cent reverse and later with a wreath reverse. Midway through 1793 production, the obverse was replaced by Joseph Wright’s liberty cap design, featuring a more detailed Liberty with a Phrygian cap, symbolic of freedom, in the background. Another important change came with a statutory devaluation in 1795, as the thick planchet variety was replaced was phased out in favor of the 10.89 gram thin planchet, which would be used for all subsequent Large Cents.

From 1796, Large Cents used the Draped Bust obverse designed by Robert Scot, and similar to the design used on larger denominations. This design was replaced by the short-lived Classic Head obverse for 1808-1814. Due to a shortage of copper, production was discontinued in 1815 – the sole year of the United States Mint’s existence that saw the production of no one-cent coins. When production resumed for 1816, the Classic Head, though still in use on the half eagle, had been replaced by the Matron Head design, featuring a Liberty with long hair and wearing a coronet bearing the inscription “LIBERTY.” This design was used until 1839, with minor modifications made in 1835 to give Liberty a more youthful appearance.

A final redesign in 1839 introduced the braided hair design, which would be used until the Large Cents’ discontinuation in 1857 due to rising production costs and waning popularity.

One Cent Coin

The one cent coin has the distinction of being the only coin to have been minted (except 1815) every year since its inception. Large Cents coin values vary by year, but these coins will make a great addition to your collection.

Large Cents Key Dates

Struck from Copper, the United States Large Cents series has nine key dates. The first is 1793, which was the first year the coin was struck. Notably, this was also the first coin authorized and produced by the United States mint using government-owned equipment at an official facility. The following three years are also considered key dates for Large Cents: 1794, 1795 and 1795, all produced in Philadelphia. Later examples, including 1804, 1809 and 1811 are significant and featured several updated design elements over the years. Two coins from 1857 are classified as key by numismatists, distinguished by Large Date and Small Date designs. The Small Date design has slightly smaller “8” characters that are more loosely spaced than the Large Date version. There are several key dates for Large Cents which include:
  • 1793
  • 1794
  • 1795
  • 1796
  • 1804
  • 1809
  • 1811
  • 1857 Large Date
  • 1857 Small Date

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