The Flying Eagle Penny: The First Small Cent Issued By The US Mint!

The Flying Eagle Penny is one of the more popular coins for US collectors.

The 1856 Flying Eagle Penny is one of the rarest and most expensive of all key date US coins, with only an estimated 800 or so circulation strikes and 1500 proof strikes.


The Flying Eagle Penny was brought into production because around the time of its release the cost of copper was causing the Mint to lose money in producing the classic Large Cent design. Prices of copper at that time were  around 42 cents a pound and the Mint had calculated that when the cost of copper was at or above this level, it would incur a loss on these coins when manufacturing costs were factored in.

This was troubling for the Mint because producing Large Cents had long been a profit center due to the fact that they had cost much less than a cent to produce and the difference, or "seignorage" went directly to the Mint's bottom line.

1858 7 FLYING EAGLE CENT Overdate FS 301 SNOW 1
1858 7 FLYING EAGLE CENT Overdate FS 301 SNOW 1
$299.00
Time Remaining: 6d 2h 17m
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EVEREST 1857 Flying Eagle Cent PCGS PR 65 Cameo TOP POP
EVEREST 1857 Flying Eagle Cent PCGS PR 65 Cameo TOP POP
$45,000.00
Time Remaining: 15d 2h 42m
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1857 FLYING EAGLE CENT SNOW 9 FS 402 CLASH WITH LIBERTY SEATED HALF10 31 01
1857 FLYING EAGLE CENT SNOW 9 FS 402 CLASH WITH LIBERTY SEATED HALF10 31 01
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Time Remaining: 3d 6h 44m
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1858 1C Flying Eagle Cent High Grade w Doubling on the Reverse
1858 1C Flying Eagle Cent High Grade w Doubling on the Reverse
$110.00
Time Remaining: 5d 4h 40m
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19  OFF CENTER MEMORIAL CENT RED BROWN
19 OFF CENTER MEMORIAL CENT RED BROWN
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1857 1C Flying Eagle Cent
1857 1C Flying Eagle Cent
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Dateless Flying Eagle Cent Copper Nickel Free Shipping
Dateless Flying Eagle Cent Copper Nickel Free Shipping
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1857 Flying Eagle Cent Very Fine+ Below WHOLESALE
1857 Flying Eagle Cent Very Fine+ Below WHOLESALE
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1857 1C Flying Eagle Cent High Grade  SNOW 16 Variety
1857 1C Flying Eagle Cent High Grade SNOW 16 Variety
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1857 1C Flying Eagle Cent Higher Grade
1857 1C Flying Eagle Cent Higher Grade
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The lineage of the Flying Eagle Penny can be traced back to the Feuchtwanger's Tokens proposed by Dr. Lewis Feuchtwanger in the late 1830's.

Feuchtwanger had spent a lot of time trying to convince Congress to use his Feuchtwanger's composition, a silvery alloy of nickel copper and zinc, in US coinage. This "German Silver" had a light colored composition similar to the copper nickel all0y that would be used in the Flying Eagle Penny.  These also had an eagle motif with a feather design similar to that of the Flying Eagle Penny. Although his pattern was never adopted, Feuchtwanger's Tokens would later circulate as money as a result of the coin shortages of the early 1940's.

The design of the Flying Eagle Penny was based on the Flying Eagle design that Christian Gobrecht had  designed in 1838  for use in US half dollars.

The reverse featured a wreath designed by James Longacre for use on $1 and $3 US gold coins. Longacre engraved the dies designed for the minting of the Flying Eagle Penny and later achieved fame as the designer of the classic Indian Head penny. The composition of the Flying Eagle Penny was set at 88% copper and 12% nickel.

The 1856 Flying Eagle Penny was minted in low quantities to "educate" the public about this new size cent. Large Cents had been in circulation since the Mint's founding, and people were more vocal about changes in the country's money in the 1850's than they are now. Coins of this time were designed to guarantee a fixed amount of a metal's intrinsic value in each coin, and the reduction of size in the cent could have been viewed as the government trying to "cheat" the possessor of the smaller coin out of a specific amount of intrinsic value. These coins were minted for distribution to newspaper editors, congressmen, & other "influential"  individuals who could get the word out and create a favorable view of the coins. Word got out about the new coins and soon the 1856 Flying Eagle Penny was being traded at a premium of 50 cents to a dollar a coin. This was at a time when $2 was more than a day's pay for many people, which is quite remarkable.

The Mint struck 17,450,000 examples of the 1857 Flying Eagle Penny and 24,600,00 examples of the 1858 Flying Eagle Penny. These were soon snapped up by an eager public, who were taking advantage of a program where they could turn in their worn and damaged coppers and Spanish Reales for the Flying Eagle Penny. Supply could not keep up with demand and the lucky folks who got a hold of the Flying Eagle Penny often sold them at a premium to those less lucky. But the Mint was not as happy with the Flying Eagle Penny. Mint director James Snowden decided that the design of the coin caused it to strike poorly and after a run of only three years, the Flying Eagle Penny was replaced by the Indian Head penny.

The Flying Eagle penny is easy to find on eBay!

1858 7 FLYING EAGLE CENT Overdate FS 301 SNOW 1
1858 7 FLYING EAGLE CENT Overdate FS 301 SNOW 1
$299.00
Time Remaining: 6d 2h 17m
Buy It Now for only: $299.00
EVEREST 1857 Flying Eagle Cent PCGS PR 65 Cameo TOP POP
EVEREST 1857 Flying Eagle Cent PCGS PR 65 Cameo TOP POP
$45,000.00
Time Remaining: 15d 2h 42m
Buy It Now for only: $45,000.00
1857 FLYING EAGLE CENT SNOW 9 FS 402 CLASH WITH LIBERTY SEATED HALF10 31 01
1857 FLYING EAGLE CENT SNOW 9 FS 402 CLASH WITH LIBERTY SEATED HALF10 31 01
$50.00
Time Remaining: 3d 6h 44m
Buy It Now for only: $50.00
1858 1C Flying Eagle Cent High Grade w Doubling on the Reverse
1858 1C Flying Eagle Cent High Grade w Doubling on the Reverse
$110.00
Time Remaining: 5d 4h 40m
Buy It Now for only: $110.00
19  OFF CENTER MEMORIAL CENT RED BROWN
19 OFF CENTER MEMORIAL CENT RED BROWN
$9.99
Time Remaining: 25d 4h 12m
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1857 1C Flying Eagle Cent
1857 1C Flying Eagle Cent
$65.00
Time Remaining: 5d 4h 40m
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Dateless Flying Eagle Cent Copper Nickel Free Shipping
Dateless Flying Eagle Cent Copper Nickel Free Shipping
$4.99
Time Remaining: 29d 55m
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1857 1C Flying Eagle Cent High Grade  SNOW 16 Variety
1857 1C Flying Eagle Cent High Grade SNOW 16 Variety
$165.00
Time Remaining: 22d 6h 47m
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1857 1C Flying Eagle Cent Higher Grade
1857 1C Flying Eagle Cent Higher Grade
$85.00
Time Remaining: 22d 6h 47m
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1857 FLYING EAGLE CENT Near VF VERY FINE Details
1857 FLYING EAGLE CENT Near VF VERY FINE Details
$23.00
Time Remaining: 28d 43m
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1857 Flying Eagle Cent Very Fine+ Below WHOLESALE
1857 Flying Eagle Cent Very Fine+ Below WHOLESALE
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Time Remaining: 29d 45m
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1858 FLYING EAGLE CENT F VF Small Letters SL
1858 FLYING EAGLE CENT F VF Small Letters SL
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1857 Flying Eagle 1C Cent Penny US Mint Philadelphia Awesome condition
1857 Flying Eagle 1C Cent Penny US Mint Philadelphia Awesome condition
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1858 FLYING EAGLE CENT GOOD Large Letters LL
1858 FLYING EAGLE CENT GOOD Large Letters LL
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1867 7 INDIAN CENT OBVERSE SPOTS
1867 7 INDIAN CENT OBVERSE SPOTS
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25 PENNY FLYING EAGLE WHEAT ONE CENT 19MM COIN SLAB CASE HOLDERS SLABS 01 NEW
25 PENNY FLYING EAGLE WHEAT ONE CENT 19MM COIN SLAB CASE HOLDERS SLABS 01 NEW
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1858 Flying Eagle Cent Penny Small Letters AL695
1858 Flying Eagle Cent Penny Small Letters AL695
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1858 Flying Eagle Penny Cent Nice Coin 2100
1858 Flying Eagle Penny Cent Nice Coin 2100
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1858 Flying Eagle Cent 88 11596
1858 Flying Eagle Cent 88 11596
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1857 FLYING EAGLE CENT DOUBLE DIE OBVERSE SNOW S4 PROBLEM FREE
1857 FLYING EAGLE CENT DOUBLE DIE OBVERSE SNOW S4 PROBLEM FREE
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