US Small Cents are a unique part of American coin history, minted from 1856 to 1909. This collection includes the Flying Eagle Type and Indian Head Type, both with their own distinct designs and varieties. The history of these small cents is rich and fascinating, with intricate details and key dates that provide insight into the evolution of American currency.
The Flying Eagle Type was minted from 1856 to 1858 and features two varieties with different letter designs.
The Indian Head Type, designed by James Longacre, was minted from 1859 to 1909 and features a portrait of Liberty wearing a Native American headdress. Longacre used his daughter as a model for the Indian Head design, making it a unique and personal touch to the coin’s history.
In this article, we will delve into the details of each variety, including their design and key dates, providing a comprehensive overview of the fascinating history of US Small Cents.
- US Small Cents were minted from 1856 to 1909 in two types: Flying Eagle and Indian Head.
- Minting technology was primitive compared to modern standards and various design changes and compositions reflect artistic and cultural trends of the time.
- Indian Head Type featured changes in metal composition and design elements with three varieties.
- Rarity and condition are essential factors in determining the overall value of US Small Cents, which played a cultural and economic role in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Minting Period and Types
The minting period and types of US Small Cents, including the Flying Eagle and Indian Head types, are crucial to understanding the history of these coins and their various designs and compositions.
The Flying Eagle Type was minted from 1856 to 1858, and included two varieties with different letter designs. The reverse featured a wreath of agricultural products.
The Indian Head Type, designed by James Longacre, was minted from 1859 to 1909, and included three varieties with different designs and compositions. Longacre used his daughter as a model for the Indian Head device.
The minting technology used during this period was primitive compared to modern standards, and the coins were struck using steam-powered presses.
The historical significance of these coins lies in their cultural and economic impact on the United States during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The Small Cents responded to the rising cost of living and the need for smaller denominations.
They were also instrumental in transitioning from the barter system to a monetary economy. The coins were widely circulated and used in everyday transactions, making them an important part of American history.
Additionally, the various design changes and compositions reflect the artistic and cultural trends of the time, making them valuable artifacts in their own right.
Design and Varieties
Various design variations and compositions were utilized to mint US small cents, including the Flying Eagle type and Indian Head type, with the latter featuring three distinct varieties.
The Indian Head type was designed by James Longacre, who used his daughter as a model for the depiction of Liberty on the obverse.
The design evolution of the Indian Head type can be traced through its three varieties, which featured changes in metal composition and design elements.
The first variety, minted from 1859 to 1864, featured a composition of 88% copper and 12% nickel, and depicted a slightly larger and more intricate Indian Head.
The second variety, minted from 1864 to 1909, had a composition of 95% copper and 5% tin and zinc and featured a smaller and more simplified Indian Head.
The third variety, known as the ‘Bronze’ type, was minted from 1864 to 1909 and featured a composition of 95% copper and 5% tin and zinc.
This variety was notable for its redesign of the reverse, which featured a wreath of oak leaves instead of the previous wreath of agricultural products.
Overall, the design and composition of US small cents evolved over time, reflecting changes in technology, artistic preferences, and economic considerations.
Key Dates and Values
Key dates and values of US Small Cents provide a glimpse into their historical importance. One of the series’s rarest and most valuable coins is the 1877 Indian Head Cent. This coin’s scarcity and historical significance make it highly sought after by collectors. In good condition, the 1877 Indian Head Cent has been reported to have a value of up to $900.
Several factors, including rarity and coin grading determine the value of a US Small Cent. Rarity factors include a particular coin’s mintage, availability, and survival rate. Coin grading is a process that involves evaluating the condition of a coin, which can greatly affect its value. Collectors use a grading scale that ranges from poor to perfect, with each grade having specific criteria.
The rarity and condition of a coin are essential factors in determining its overall value.
Frequently Asked Questions
What was the purpose of the wreath of agricultural products on the reverse of the Flying Eagle Type small cent?
The wreath design controversy on the reverse of the Flying Eagle type small cent featured an agricultural symbolism, including wheat, corn, and tobacco. The purpose of this design is unclear, though some speculate it was meant to symbolize national prosperity and growth.
How did James Longacre come up with the design for the Indian Head device on the Indian Head Type small cent?
James Longacre’s inspiration for the Indian Head device on the Indian Head Type Small Cent came from his daughter. His design process incorporated artistic influences from classical Greek and Roman sculptures. The public reception was mixed due to its cultural significance. Today, the coin’s numismatic value is high and collectors’ market demand is strong. Coin grading and preservation techniques are important factors in maintaining its value.
What is the significance of the 1877 Indian Head Cent as a key date?
The 1877 Indian Head Cent is considered a key date due to its rarity and value appreciation. It has a low mintage of 852,500 and is difficult to find in high grades. Rarity factors, such as die cracks and doubling, also contribute to its significance.
Are there any rare varieties or errors within the small cent series?
Rare variations and mint errors exist within the US Small Cent series. One example is the 1909-S VDB, a scarce variety with removed designer initials. Other errors include repunched mint marks and doubled dies.
What impact did the small cent have on American commerce and currency during its minting period?
The US Small Cent significantly impacted the American economy during its minting period. Its design inspiration, the Indian Head device, represented a shift towards showcasing national identity and values. The small denomination also made commerce more accessible to the average citizen.