Large Cents

The Large Cent appeared in 1793, at nearly the same time as the Half Cent. Together, these coppers were the first coins released by the U.S. into general circulation.

The initial type, Flowing Hair Chain Cent reverse (the first coin pictured below), was not well received by the public, as typified by the comments of a Boston newspaper in March, 1793:

The American cents.... do not answer our expectations. The chain on the reverse is but a bad omen for Liberty, and Liberty herself appears to be in a fright.

Complaints such as the above led to the replacement of the "bondage" chain with a wreath within a matter of weeks. Critics continued to whine about the maniacal Liberty, however, so later in 1793, she was replaced by a calmer Liberty.

This time, she was also seen with a Liberty cap, similar to the Half Cent design, to celebrate the newfound freedom of the United States.

Large cents were just that -- large. A dollar's worth of the Large Cents of 1793-1794 weighed almost three pounds! In 1795, the weight was reduced somewhat to adjust to the price of copper, but nonetheless remained big and clunky.


Flowing Hair Chain Large Cent
Coin Photos courtesy of Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc., Beverly Hills, CA

manual coin press

While This Coin Was Minted...

This is a manually operated coining press, very similar to those employed at the Philadelphia Mint in 1793. The first United States coin minted for circulation, the Chain cent, came off a press of this type. Steam power machinery didn't arrive at the Mint until 1816, in the form of a roll machine. Up until then, all energy was supplied by human and horse muscles.

Public domain image.

The Act of February 21, 1857 specified a new type of smaller one cent coin, which marked the end of both the Large Cent and Half Cent. The public was encouraged to trade in their Large Cent coins for the smaller Flying Eagle cent. After 64 years of service to the U.S., the oversized copper coins were at last retired.

In all, there are seven design types of Large Cents: Flowing Hair Chain Reverse (shown above, 1793 only), Flowing Hair Wreath Reverse (1793 only), Liberty Cap (1793-1796), Draped Bust (1796-1807), Classic Head (1808-1814), Liberty Head (1816-1839), and Liberty Head Braided Hair (1839-1857).

Large Cents were minted every year from 1793 to 1857, with the exception of 1815, when the War of 1812 interrupted the planchet supply from England. Most Large Cents were produced in significant quantities, giving collectors of today a good supply to select from. There are a few key dates that are rare and fought for by numismatists. If past trends mean anything, and they usually do, these are the Large Cents most likely to increase in value in the years ahead:



Key date Large Cents are offered for sale below.  The left hand side of each "Sales Box" is value trend data over a very long period of time for a coin of that date in Good-4 condition.  The percent annual increase is computed for comparative purposes.  The coin pictured for sale in the right hand side is not necessarily the same condition coin or same variety as that represented in the value trend analysis on left hand side.


1793
Chain AMERI. Large Cent
Condition: G-4


1799
Large Cent
Condition: G-4

% Annual Increase Since 1950  =

7.93%
% Annual Increase Since 1950  =

6.53%


1804
Large Cent
Condition: G-4


% Annual Increase Since 1950  =

6.07%


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Flowing Hair Wreath Large Cent
Coin Photos courtesy of Ira& Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc., Beverly Hills, CA


Liberty Cap Large Cent
Coin Photos courtesy of Ira& Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc., Beverly Hills, CA


Draped Bust Large Cent
Coin Photos courtesy of Ira& Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc., Beverly Hills, CA


Classic Head Large Cent
Coin Photos courtesy of Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc., Beverly Hills, CA


Liberty Head Large Cent
Coin Photos courtesy of Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc., Beverly Hills, CA


Braided Hair Large Cent
Coin Photos courtesy of Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc., Beverly Hills, CA


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