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 1859 1860 1862 1863 1865 1879 Indian Head Cents Lot
1857 Flying Eagle Cent 1859 1860 1862 1863 1865 1879 Indian Head Cents Lot
$9.50 (10 Bids)
Time Remaining: 2d 23h 17m
1857 Flying Eagle Cent Penny Very Fine
1857 Flying Eagle Cent Penny Very Fine
$25.00
Time Remaining: 29d 20h 30m
Buy It Now for only: $25.00
1857 FLYING EAGLE CENT LARGE REVERSE CUD ERROR DECENT NICE DETAIL
1857 FLYING EAGLE CENT LARGE REVERSE CUD ERROR DECENT NICE DETAIL
$34.55 (6 Bids)
Time Remaining: 4d 23h 6m
1858 Large Letters Flying Eagle Cent F Nice Old Penny 314
1858 Large Letters Flying Eagle Cent F Nice Old Penny 314
$18.99
Time Remaining: 27d 22h 29m
Buy It Now for only: $18.99
1857 1C Flying Eagle Cent XF RARE Penny Details
1857 1C Flying Eagle Cent XF RARE Penny Details
$102.50 (9 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1h 9m
1857 Flying Eagle Cent Penny Fine Condition 4SU
1857 Flying Eagle Cent Penny Fine Condition 4SU
$10.50 (4 Bids)
Time Remaining: 6d 15h 48m
1858LL Large Letters Flying Eagle Cent VF Condition Nice Eye Appeal
1858LL Large Letters Flying Eagle Cent VF Condition Nice Eye Appeal
$40.00
Time Remaining: 29d 15h 29m
Buy It Now for only: $40.00
1858 FLYING EAGLE CENT VF+ CLEANED CLIPPED PLANCHET ERROR COIN
1858 FLYING EAGLE CENT VF+ CLEANED CLIPPED PLANCHET ERROR COIN
$21.50 (22 Bids)
Time Remaining: 2d 22h 42m
A U 1857 FLYING EAGLE CENT CRISP DETAILS EYE APPEAL FREE SHIPPING
A U 1857 FLYING EAGLE CENT CRISP DETAILS EYE APPEAL FREE SHIPPING
$89.99
Time Remaining: 27d 21h 59m
Buy It Now for only: $89.99
1858 US 1C FLYING EAGLE PENNY 2 of 2 Very Fine Shape
1858 US 1C FLYING EAGLE PENNY 2 of 2 Very Fine Shape
$2.02 (4 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1d 12h 52m

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 1859 1860 1862 1863 1865 1879 Indian Head Cents Lot
1857 Flying Eagle Cent 1859 1860 1862 1863 1865 1879 Indian Head Cents Lot
$9.50 (10 Bids)
Time Remaining: 2d 23h 17m
1857 Flying Eagle Cent Penny Very Fine
1857 Flying Eagle Cent Penny Very Fine
$25.00
Time Remaining: 29d 20h 30m
Buy It Now for only: $25.00
1857 FLYING EAGLE CENT LARGE REVERSE CUD ERROR DECENT NICE DETAIL
1857 FLYING EAGLE CENT LARGE REVERSE CUD ERROR DECENT NICE DETAIL
$34.55 (6 Bids)
Time Remaining: 4d 23h 6m
1858 Large Letters Flying Eagle Cent F Nice Old Penny 314
1858 Large Letters Flying Eagle Cent F Nice Old Penny 314
$18.99
Time Remaining: 27d 22h 29m
Buy It Now for only: $18.99
1857 1C Flying Eagle Cent XF RARE Penny Details
1857 1C Flying Eagle Cent XF RARE Penny Details
$102.50 (9 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1h 9m
1857 Flying Eagle Cent Penny Fine Condition 4SU
1857 Flying Eagle Cent Penny Fine Condition 4SU
$10.50 (4 Bids)
Time Remaining: 6d 15h 48m
1858LL Large Letters Flying Eagle Cent VF Condition Nice Eye Appeal
1858LL Large Letters Flying Eagle Cent VF Condition Nice Eye Appeal
$40.00
Time Remaining: 29d 15h 29m
Buy It Now for only: $40.00
1858 FLYING EAGLE CENT VF+ CLEANED CLIPPED PLANCHET ERROR COIN
1858 FLYING EAGLE CENT VF+ CLEANED CLIPPED PLANCHET ERROR COIN
$21.50 (22 Bids)
Time Remaining: 2d 22h 42m
A U 1857 FLYING EAGLE CENT CRISP DETAILS EYE APPEAL FREE SHIPPING
A U 1857 FLYING EAGLE CENT CRISP DETAILS EYE APPEAL FREE SHIPPING
$89.99
Time Remaining: 27d 21h 59m
Buy It Now for only: $89.99
1858 US 1C FLYING EAGLE PENNY 2 of 2 Very Fine Shape
1858 US 1C FLYING EAGLE PENNY 2 of 2 Very Fine Shape
$2.02 (4 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1d 12h 52m
1857 Flying Eagle Cent Very Nice Looking Coin FREE SHIPPING
1857 Flying Eagle Cent Very Nice Looking Coin FREE SHIPPING
$58.00
Time Remaining: 26d 20h 12m
Buy It Now for only: $58.00
1857 Flying Eagle  Lincoln Wheat Penny on Ends of a Wheat Cent Roll 9318
1857 Flying Eagle Lincoln Wheat Penny on Ends of a Wheat Cent Roll 9318
$10.50 (9 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1d 2h 10m
flying eagle cent penny
flying eagle cent penny
$9.50 (9 Bids)
Time Remaining: 3d 10h 25m
1858 flying eagle cent penny Small letters 1
1858 flying eagle cent penny Small letters 1
$4.27 (3 Bids)
Time Remaining: 4d 13h 11m
1857 Flying Eagle Small Cent Penny  A604
1857 Flying Eagle Small Cent Penny A604
$53.00
Time Remaining: 22d 11h 48m
Buy It Now for only: $53.00
1858 LARGE LETTERS 1C NGC VF 20 1858 FLYING EAGLE CENT ONE PENNY
1858 LARGE LETTERS 1C NGC VF 20 1858 FLYING EAGLE CENT ONE PENNY
$20.50 (10 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1d 22m
Flying Eagle Cent Fine Condition
Flying Eagle Cent Fine Condition
$50.24
Time Remaining: 23d 19h 34m
Buy It Now for only: $50.24
1858 Flying Eagle  Lincoln Wheat Penny on Ends of a Wheat Cent Roll 9270
1858 Flying Eagle Lincoln Wheat Penny on Ends of a Wheat Cent Roll 9270
$9.50 (6 Bids)
Time Remaining: 22h 10m
1857 Flying Eagle Cent F INV6475
1857 Flying Eagle Cent F INV6475
$25.19
Time Remaining: 29d 14h 40m
Buy It Now for only: $25.19
1858 US Flying Eagle Penny Fine Large Letters
1858 US Flying Eagle Penny Fine Large Letters
$10.50 (7 Bids)
Time Remaining: 22h 26m

« Previous12345

No related posts.

Related posts brought to you by Yet Another Related Posts Plugin.


Leave a Reply