1856-1858 Flying Eagle Cent - The First Small Cent

1856-1858 Flying Eagle Cent - The First Small Cent

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Flying Eagle Cent

The Flying Eagle Cent was produced for one of the shortest time frames that a U.S. Coin has ever been produced. Only 40 million coins were ever minted, compared to hundred of millions or even billions of pennies as seen today. This was the first ever small cent produced by the U.S. Mint, after they realized that minting the Large Cent was no longer economically feasible. This began the trend of the smaller penny as we know it!

These coins were met with huge success when originally issued due to their convenience and are widely collected today! Collectors love the patriotic eagle on the obverse and the bundle of fall foliage on the reverse, and the fact that they were only minted fofr 2 years. You will receive (1) coin in circulated condition. Just think of all the history this coin has been through!


  • One of the shortest mintages ever
  • The first small cent!
  • Beautiful obverse and reverse designs


1856-1858 Flying Eagle Cent for Sale

The Flying Eagle Cent was the United States Mint's first foray into the production of small cents, a departure from the larger, cumbersome pennies previously in circulation. Minted for only three years, from 1856 to 1858, this coin was a groundbreaking achievement in American numismatics.

Design: The obverse of the Flying Eagle Cent features a majestic eagle in flight, a symbol of American freedom and spirit. This design was a significant departure from the portraits and classical figures commonly used, showcasing the Mint's willingness to explore innovative imagery. The reverse showcases a wreath encircling the denomination, a design element that echoes the nation's agricultural prosperity.

Historical Significance: Introduced in 1856, the Flying Eagle Cent was the Mint's response to the need for a smaller, more practical currency. Its creation also coincided with the advent of new minting technologies and the rising cost of copper, making it a fascinating snapshot of a pivotal era in U.S. history.

Condition and Rarity: Our collection of 1856-1858 Flying Eagle Cents includes coins in various grades, from well-circulated pieces with clear historical character to those in finer conditions, showcasing the intricate details of their design. The 1856 issue, particularly, is highly sought after due to its status as a pattern coin and its extremely limited mintage.

Limited Availability: Given their brief mintage period and historical importance, Flying Eagle Cents are highly coveted by collectors. Our selection offers a unique opportunity to add one of these rare coins to your collection, each authenticated and graded to ensure its quality and value.

Why Buy From Bullion Shark?

At Bullion Shark, we are committed to providing our clients with the highest quality numismatic pieces, each with its own story and significance. Our expert team carefully selects and verifies every coin for authenticity and quality, ensuring that you receive a piece that meets our high standards and your expectations.

Don't miss this chance to own a piece of numismatic history with the 1856-1858 Flying Eagle Cent. Whether you're a seasoned collector or new to the hobby, this coin represents a unique blend of historical significance, artistic innovation, and numismatic rarity. 

You may also like: Silver War Nickels, 1964 Kennedy Half Dollar, Seated Half Dime, 1963 Franklin Half Dollar, 1909 VDB Lincoln Penny, Peace Dollar BU, Quarters Worth Money, Pennies Worth Money, 1941 Wheat Penny Value, Valuable US Coins, 1986 Statue of Liberty Silver Dollar, Widow's Mite.

Flying Eagle Cent FAQ

The Flying Eagle Cent is a U.S. coin that was minted from 1856 to 1858. It was the first small-sized cent produced by the United States Mint, featuring a design of an eagle in flight on the obverse and a wreath on the reverse.

The Flying Eagle Cent was created to replace the larger, cumbersome Large Cent. Its introduction was part of an effort to modernize the coinage system, making coins more practical for everyday transactions and reducing production costs by using less copper.

The Flying Eagle Cent was designed by James Barton Longacre, the Chief Engraver at the U.S. Mint at the time. His design for the obverse featured a flying eagle, symbolizing liberty and freedom.

The 1856 Flying Eagle Cent is particularly significant because it was initially produced as a pattern coin and not released for general circulation. Its limited mintage makes it one of the rarest and most sought-after coins among collectors.

A genuine Flying Eagle Cent can be identified by its distinct design, size, and the dates it was minted (1856-1858). Authentic coins should have clear details, including the flying eagle on the obverse and the wreath on the reverse. Consulting with a professional numismatist or having the coin authenticated by a reputable grading service can ensure its genuineness.

The key date for Flying Eagle Cents is 1856, due to its limited mintage as a pattern coin. The coins minted in 1857 and 1858 are more accessible but still highly valued by collectors due to their historical significance and short mintage period.

Flying Eagle Cents can be purchased from reputable coin dealers such as Bullion Shark, numismatic auctions, online marketplaces specializing in coins, and coin shows. Ensure the seller is reputable to avoid counterfeit or overgraded coins.

The value of a Flying Eagle Cent varies based on its condition, year, and rarity. The 1856 pattern coins are particularly valuable, often fetching high prices at auction. Coins from 1857 and 1858 also hold value, especially in higher grades.

Yes, there are several rare varieties of Flying Eagle Cents, including the 1858 Small Letters and Large Letters varieties. These variations refer to the size of the letters in "AMERICA" on the reverse of the coin and can affect its value.

Care for your Flying Eagle Cent collection by storing the coins in a cool, dry place, ideally in acid-free holders or albums designed for coin storage. This protects the coins from environmental damage and preserves their condition for future generations.

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