1856 Flying Eagle Cent

The Act of February 21, 1857 mandated that a smaller cent be coined. The Large Cent, a US coinage staple since 1793, had become too costly to mint.

The Flying Eagle Cent was the first small cent, which was actually minted starting in 1856, to have specimens ready for display to members of Congress. Thus, it is technically a pattern coin, since the law establishing the new small cent was enacted in 1857. It had the exact same diameter as our pennies today.

Another important distinction of the Flying Eagle Cent is that is was composed of a copper-nickel alloy. All large cent predecessors were composed of nearly all copper.

The new alloy produced a lighter colored coin that proved to be more difficult to manufacture, due to the hardness of the metal.

As many as 850 of the 1856 Flying Eagle Cents were minted as business strikes (many of these were circulated in the halls of Congress -- which led to the passage of the 1857 law). There were also approximately 1000-1500 proof strikes for collector sales.

Because business strikes were produced in lower quantities, they are generally more valuable in comparable grades. That is, an MS-65 business strike 1856 Flying Eagle sells for a lot more than a PF-65 example.





1856 Flying Eagle Cent

1856 flying Eagle Cent photos
Coin Photos courtesy of Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc., Beverly Hills, CA






1856 Flying Eagle Cent Historical Value trend graph

1856 Flying Eagle Cent (G-4 Condition)

The blue line above charts the percent change since the year 2000 in retail coin price of the 1856 Flaying Eagle Cent in G-4 condtion, beginning at a baseline index of 100. The red line depicts the percent change of the Rare Coin Values Index, which is an overall measure of the US rare coin market. As you can see, the 1856 Flying Eagle Cent rates far below the Index composite score, but is still considered by numismatists to be a key date cent. The 1856 Flying Eagle Cent is one of 87 coins tracked in the Index, and is updated monthly.


 

Members of the Rare Coin Values Index
Date Coin Type Grade Est. Retail Value Nov 2017
1793 Liberty Cap Left Half Cent G-4 3850
1802 2/0 Rev 1802 Draped Bust Half Cent G-4 1000
1793 Chain AMERI. Flowing Hair Large Cent G-4 10000
1794 Starred Rev Liberty Cap Large Cent G-4 35000
1799 Draped Bust Large Cent G-4 4500
1856 Flying Eagle Cent G-4 6500
1877 Indian Head Cent G-4 600
1909-S VDB Lincoln Cent G-4 600
1914-D Lincoln Cent G-4 170
1922-D (No D) Lincoln Cent G-4 550
1864 Small Motto Two Cent F-12 400
1865 Three Cent Silver PF-65 1750
1884 Three Cent Nickel F-12 650
1795 Flowing Hair Half Dime G-4 1400
1797 Draped Bust, Small Eagle Half Dime G-4 1500
1800 Draped Bust, Large Eagle Half Dime G-4 1100
1865 Seated Liberty Half Dime G-4 300
1879 Shield Nickel VG-8 550
1885 Liberty Nickel VG-8 675
1913-S Type 2 Buffalo Nickel G-4 325
1918/7-D Buffalo Nickel G-4 875
1937-D 3 Legs Buffalo Nickel G-4 475
1796 Draped Bust Dime G-4 2750
1822 Capped Bust Dime G-4 2000
1871-CC Seated Liberty Dime G-4 3250
1895-O Barber Dime G-4 375
1916-D Mercury Dime VG-8 1400
1942/1-D Mercury Dime VG-8 425
1875-CC Twenty Cent G-4 300
1796 Draped Bust, Small Eagle Quarter G-4 12500
1804 Draped Bust, Large Eagle Quarter G-4 4000
1823 Capped Bust Quarter G-4 40000
1870-CC Seated Liberty Quarter G-4 10000
1896-S Barber Quarter G-4 725
1901-S Barber Quarter G-4 4750
1916 Standing Liberty Quarter G-4 2900
1918/7-S Standing Liberty Quarter G-4 1150
1923-S Standing Liberty Quarter G-4 300
1932-D Washington Quarter F-12 130
1794 Flowing Hair Half Dollar G-4 6000
1796 16 Stars Draped Bust Small Eagle Half Dollar G-4 40000
1815/12 Capped Bust Half Dollar G-4 1750
1836 Reed Edge Capped Bust Half Dollar G-4 1000
1870-CC Seated Liberty Half Dollar G-4 900
1892-O Barber Half Dollar G-4 327
1921-D Walking Liberty Half Dollar VG-8 375
1938-D Walking Liberty Half Dollar VG-8 75
1953-S Franklin Half Dollar MS-65 FBL 20000
1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar G-4 65000
1796 Draped Bust Small Eagle Silver Dollar G-4 1750
1801 Draped Bust Large Eagle Silver Dollar G-4 1000
1836 Gobrecht Dollar, Name on Base, Circ. Issue XF-40 12500
1873-CC Seated Liberty Dollar G-4 7500
1879 Trade Dollar PF-65 8500
1889-CC Morgan Silver Dollar F-12 800
1893-S Morgan Silver Dollar F-12 4000
1895 Morgan Silver Dollar F-12 (PF Only) 35000
1928 Peace Dollar F-12 275
1849-C Cl. Wreath Type One Gold Dollar VF-20 1300
1855-D Type Two Gold Dollar VF-20 10250
1861-D Type Three Gold Dollar VF-20 18500
1796 No Stars Capped Bust $ 2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 55000
1808 Capped Draped Bust $2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 23500
1826 Capped Head $2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 9500
1838-C Classic Head $2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 2500
1848 CAL. Coronet $2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 25000
1856-D Coronet $2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 5250
1911-D Indian Head $2.50 Quarter Eagle XF-40 4000
1854-D Indian Head Three Dollar F-12 10000
1795 Capped Bust Small Eagle $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 20000
1800 Capped Bust Large Eagle $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 4250
1808 Capped Draped Bust $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 3500
1821 Capped Head $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 15000
1833 Large Date Capped Head $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 16000
1834 Cross 4 Classic Head $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 1300
1861-D Coronet $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 15000
1870-CC Coronet $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 15000
1909-O Indian Head $5.00 Half Eagle XF-40 7500
1795 9 Leaves Capped Bust Small Eagle $10 Eagle F-12 80750
1804 Capped Bust Large Eagle $10 Eagle F-12 20000
1841-O Coronet $10 Eagle F-12 4500
1879-CC Coronet $10 Eagle F-12 11250
1911-D Indian Head $10 Eagle XF-40 2250
1930-S Indian Head $10 Eagle XF-40 20750
1859-O Coronet $20 Double Eagle VF-20 5750
1907 Wire Rim St-Gaudens $20 Double Eagle XF-40 11000
1921 St-Gaudens $20 Double Eagle XF-40 45000


See the 87 Index Coins