Flying Eagle Penny Design
The design of the Flying Eagle Penny was the brainchild of U.S. Mint Chief Engraver James Longacre, though the artwork was not unfamiliar. Adapted from the design of the Gobrecht Dollar, circulated between 1836 and 1839, the obverse of the Flying Eagle Penny depicts an American bald eagle in midflight. Folklore tells us Gobrecht’s original design was inspired by an eagle named Peter, who was unusually sociable with humans and liked to be fed by U.S. Mint workers throughout the 1830s.
Even though Longacre did not conceive of the design from scratch, it is still widely revered by collectors and coin experts everywhere. Aside from the bold flying eagle on the coin’s obverse, the Flying Eagle Penny is a relatively plain coin. Accompanying the eagle on the obverse is an inscription of “United States of America” and the mintage year. The coin’s reverse artwork is also simple, featuring the one-cent face value within a pretty, understated wreath. A reeded texture encircles both faces of the coin, but overall the artwork as well and the design aesthetic are restrained.