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IN Rare Cents

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Rare Cents


Often referred to as the penny, the Cent was introduced in 1787 and became the first official United States one-cent piece. Designed by Benjamin Franklin, the first coin of its type became known as the Fugio Cent and was struck at the Massachusetts Mint; an operation owned by the state and closed in 1788. The Large Cent followed in 1793 and featured various designs throughout its life in production at the Philadelphia Mint.

Many other one-cent pieces were released by the United States Mint after the Large Cent series ended in 1857. Over the years, the Cent has been blessed with a range of designs, all of which symbolize the spirit and strength of America. While each Cent series has played an important role in our coinage system, it is the Rare Cents that are especially desirable and attract the attention of numismatists and investors across the globe.

America’s Most Fascinating and Coveted Rare Cents

Rare Cents are considered truly prized coins that enable both collectors and investors to own pieces of U.S. history. Even though some designs are scarce and more valuable than others, each Rare Cent guarantees to enhance every type of collection. You’ll also be pleased to learn that Rare Cents can be purchased from Capital Gold Group, so please feel free to get in touch for further advice. For now, we’ll leave you with some more information about the nations rarest and most coveted one cent pieces.

Large Cents

Introduced in 1793, the Large Cent became one of the first official U.S. coins struck by the United States Mint. The piece was minted every year until 1857, with the exception of 1815. It also has an interesting history because its design was changed a number of times during its lengthy run.

The many designs from the Large Cent series include:

  • Flowing Hair Chain Reverse (1793)
  • Flowing Hair Wreath Reverse (1793)
  • Liberty Cap (1793–1796)
  • Draped Bust (1796–1807)
  • Classic Head (1808–1814)
  • Matron Head / Coronet (1816–1839)
  • Braided Hair (1839–1857)

All Large Cents were produced at the Philadelphia Mint and made of nearly pure copper.

Flying Eagle Pennies

The Flying Eagle Penny was a short-lived series that replaced the Large Cent and remained in production for only three years. Minted between 1856 and 1858, the piece was designed by chief engraver James Barton Longacre and features an eagle in flight on the obverse and a decorative wreath on the reverse. However, as the eagle had been situated directly opposite the wreath, the Mint experienced endless problems with die breakages. The coin’s tough copper-nickel alloy composition also caused striking issues. Because of the troubles with breakages and striking, the Flying Eagle Penny series contains some rare and interesting varieties.

Indian Head Pennies

Commonly known as the Indian Head Cent, the Indian Head Penny was minted from 1859 to 1909 and quickly became a well-liked coin. It was so popular; in fact, many people described it as being the most adored coin in America. Like the Flying Eagle, the piece was originally composed of 88% copper and 12% nickel and designed by James Barton Longacre. The obverse depicts Liberty wearing a feathered headdress and the reverse displays a detailed wreath. In 1864, the Mint was forced to change the composition of Indian Head Pennies to bronze after the nation began hoarding copper-nickel coins during the Civil War.

Lincoln Wheat Pennies

The Lincoln Wheat Penny was the first American coin to feature a U.S. president on the obverse and takes its name from the wheat stalks on the reverse. Struck from 1909 to 1958, the piece was designed by New York medalist and sculptor Victor David Brenner. When the Lincoln Wheat Penny was first released, it included Brenner’s initials VDB on the reverse, but they were removed a few days later after people complained that they were too prominently visible. The removal of the initials created the famous 1909-S key date issue. In 1918, his initials, now smaller and less visible, reappeared on the coin.

Lincoln Memorial Pennies

Officially released on the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth and the Lincoln Cent’s 50th birthday, the Lincoln Memorial Penny was minted from 1959 to 2008. The design came from Frank Gasparro who won an internal competition organized by the United States Mint. Although the Lincoln Memorial Cent was originally composed of 95% copper, it was changed to aluminum in 1974 and copper-plated zinc in 1982. The coins were produced by the mints in Philadelphia, San Francisco, Denver and West Point over the years, and there are various Small Date and Large Date varieties in the series.

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The Definitive Gold Guide

SIGN UP AND GET A FREE GUIDEon best pratices in gold investing by Jonathan Rose

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