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.

1857 FLYING EAGLE CENT XF EF
1857 FLYING EAGLE CENT XF EF
$89.00
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1857 Flying Eagle Cent and 1859 1860 1862 1863 1865 1875 Indian Head Cents Lot
1857 Flying Eagle Cent and 1859 1860 1862 1863 1865 1875 Indian Head Cents Lot
$7.50 (6 Bids)
Time Remaining: 8d 15h 7m
1858 Flying eagle cent and 1859 copper nickel Civil war Indian penny 2 coin lot
1858 Flying eagle cent and 1859 copper nickel Civil war Indian penny 2 coin lot
$13.50 (14 Bids)
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Type Cents 1847 Large Cent 1857 Flying Eagle Cent 1900 Indian Head Cent
Type Cents 1847 Large Cent 1857 Flying Eagle Cent 1900 Indian Head Cent
$39.99
Time Remaining: 23d 18h 47m
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1858 Large Letters Flying Eagle Cent Penny Very Fine Condition 31SA
1858 Large Letters Flying Eagle Cent Penny Very Fine Condition 31SA
$9.01 (5 Bids)
Time Remaining: 5d 9h 1m
1858 Flying Eagle Eagle Large Cent
1858 Flying Eagle Eagle Large Cent
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1857 flying eagle one cent coin error flaked planchet lamination error
1857 flying eagle one cent coin error flaked planchet lamination error
$4.25 (4 Bids)
Time Remaining: 12h 37m
18571858 Flying Eagle Penny Cent Old antique scarce rare USA Coin 175F
18571858 Flying Eagle Penny Cent Old antique scarce rare USA Coin 175F
$19.90
Time Remaining: 29d 11h 57m
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1857 Flying Eagle Cent Penny Extra Fine Condition 30SA
1857 Flying Eagle Cent Penny Extra Fine Condition 30SA
$26.00 (10 Bids)
Time Remaining: 5d 8h 59m
US 1857 Flying Eagle One Cent Penny Coin in VF Very Fine Condition
US 1857 Flying Eagle One Cent Penny Coin in VF Very Fine Condition
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Time Remaining: 25d 10h 24m
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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!

1857 FLYING EAGLE CENT XF EF
1857 FLYING EAGLE CENT XF EF
$89.00
Time Remaining: 23d 18h 39m
Buy It Now for only: $89.00
1858 Flying eagle cent and 1859 copper nickel Civil war Indian penny 2 coin lot
1858 Flying eagle cent and 1859 copper nickel Civil war Indian penny 2 coin lot
$13.50 (14 Bids)
Time Remaining: 12h 57m
1857 Flying Eagle Cent and 1859 1860 1862 1863 1865 1875 Indian Head Cents Lot
1857 Flying Eagle Cent and 1859 1860 1862 1863 1865 1875 Indian Head Cents Lot
$7.50 (6 Bids)
Time Remaining: 8d 15h 7m
Type Cents 1847 Large Cent 1857 Flying Eagle Cent 1900 Indian Head Cent
Type Cents 1847 Large Cent 1857 Flying Eagle Cent 1900 Indian Head Cent
$39.99
Time Remaining: 23d 18h 47m
Buy It Now for only: $39.99
1857 flying eagle one cent coin error flaked planchet lamination error
1857 flying eagle one cent coin error flaked planchet lamination error
$4.25 (4 Bids)
Time Remaining: 12h 37m
1858 Flying Eagle Eagle Large Cent
1858 Flying Eagle Eagle Large Cent
$15.99
Time Remaining: 25d 12h 23m
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1858 Large Letters Flying Eagle Cent Penny Very Fine Condition 31SA
1858 Large Letters Flying Eagle Cent Penny Very Fine Condition 31SA
$9.01 (5 Bids)
Time Remaining: 5d 9h 1m
18571858 Flying Eagle Penny Cent Old antique scarce rare USA Coin 175F
18571858 Flying Eagle Penny Cent Old antique scarce rare USA Coin 175F
$19.90
Time Remaining: 29d 11h 57m
Buy It Now for only: $19.90
1857 Flying Eagle Cent Penny Extra Fine Condition 30SA
1857 Flying Eagle Cent Penny Extra Fine Condition 30SA
$26.00 (10 Bids)
Time Remaining: 5d 8h 59m
US 1857 Flying Eagle One Cent Penny Coin in VF Very Fine Condition
US 1857 Flying Eagle One Cent Penny Coin in VF Very Fine Condition
$45.32
Time Remaining: 25d 10h 24m
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1858 1c Flying Eagle Cent EF+ XF high grade large letters rare old coin penny
1858 1c Flying Eagle Cent EF+ XF high grade large letters rare old coin penny
$18.83 (9 Bids)
Time Remaining: 6d 15h 2m
1858 Flying Eagle Cent Penny Copper Wheat 1c US COIN Item 15479
1858 Flying Eagle Cent Penny Copper Wheat 1c US COIN Item 15479
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1857 1c Flying Eagle Cent HIGH GRADE rare old type coin money penny fe
1857 1c Flying Eagle Cent HIGH GRADE rare old type coin money penny fe
$16.00 (6 Bids)
Time Remaining: 6d 15h 17m
1857 Flying Eagle One Cent AM Joined Large Letter
1857 Flying Eagle One Cent AM Joined Large Letter
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Time Remaining: 25d 17m
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Lot of 7 US 1858 Flying Eagle One Cent Penny Coins
Lot of 7 US 1858 Flying Eagle One Cent Penny Coins
$44.00 (10 Bids)
Time Remaining: 2d 14h 25m
1858 Flying Eagle  Lincoln Wheat Penny on Ends of a Wheat Cent Roll 8524
1858 Flying Eagle Lincoln Wheat Penny on Ends of a Wheat Cent Roll 8524
$11.50 (11 Bids)
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ATTRACTIVE 1858 LARGE LETTER FLYING EAGLE CENT ORIGINAL US COPPER NICKEL COIN
ATTRACTIVE 1858 LARGE LETTER FLYING EAGLE CENT ORIGINAL US COPPER NICKEL COIN
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Flying Eagle 1857 Indian Head Penny 1859491
Flying Eagle 1857 Indian Head Penny 1859491
$2.24 (2 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1d 15h 46m
1858 US Flying Eagle SL Small Letters One Cent Penny Coin NICE QUALITY
1858 US Flying Eagle SL Small Letters One Cent Penny Coin NICE QUALITY
$20.51 (16 Bids)
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1858 LARGE LETTERS 1C NGC XF 40 1858 FLYING EAGLE CENT PENNY
1858 LARGE LETTERS 1C NGC XF 40 1858 FLYING EAGLE CENT PENNY
$120.50 (15 Bids)
Time Remaining: 16h 3m

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