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Flying Eagle Cent History


The Flying Eagle Penny was produced because, prior to 1856 the director of the mint, James Snowden wanted to produce a smaller penny. Then came the Flying Eagle Cent. The series was very short lived as it was only produced for a total of three years. The Flying Eagle Cent had a diameter of 19mm, a weight of 4.67 grams, and composed of 88% copper and 12% nickel.

The Flying Eagle Cent was designed by James B. Longacre. Its obverse design of the Flying Eagle Cent consisted of a bald eagle soaring through the sky. This soaring eagle was inspired by a bird named “Peter”. He was a bald eagle fed by the workers of the mint in the early 1830’s. The reverse of the Flying Eagle Penny had the words “ONE CENT”, that was surrounded by a wreath.

The Flying Eagle cent was replaced by the Indian Head Cent a few years after its original release on May 25, 1857. The Flying Eagle Cent was minted from 1856- 1858. It was minted in Philadelphia only. These coins are very popular amongst collectors because of their rarity, and how quickly they were removed from circulation. Some of the key dates in the Flying Eagle Cent series are the following:

-1856 Flying Eagle Cent

-All proof issue Flying Eagle Cents

Most Flying Eagle Cents are expensive, even in circulated quality. Only a few dates such as the 1858 can be found at cheaper prices in circulated condition. Since the set is so short, the higher prices of the coins don't always deter avid collectors of the series. 

Flying Eagle Penny Mintages and Values

Date Mintage Good Very Fine Extremely Fine Uncirculated
1856 Flying Eagle Cent 2,000 $7,750.00 $11,000.00 $13,000.00 $15,000.00
1857 Flying Eagle Cent 17,450,000 $25.00 $60.00 $140.00 $450.00
1858 Flying Eagle Cent (Large Letters)
$25.00 $60.00 $140.00 $450.00
1858 Flying Eagle Cent (Small Letters) $25.00 $60.00 $150.00 $500.00

*Source 2020 Red Book