Flying Eagle CentsThe Flying Eagle Cent was the first small sized cent, introduced as a replacement for the large cents. By the middle of the 19th century, the problems of large cents became apparent. They were bulky and difficult to carry and the lack of legal tender status meant they were not universally accepted.
After experimenting with a number of different proposed alloys, the Mint decided on a new composition of 88% copper and 12% nickel for a new small sized cent.
The design for the new coins featured a Flying Eagle, which had been depicted on pattern cents created in 1854 and 1855 and the silver dollars of the 1830's. The reverse featured an agricultural wreath with important crops of the United States. The Flying Eagle Cent was designed by James B. Longacre.
Before the coins were issued for circulation the 1856 Flying Eagle Cent was produced in limited numbers as a pattern piece for presentation to members of Congress and other influential individuals. These pieces proved acceptable and the coins were minted for circulation for the following two years.
Although the series was short lived, it remains very popular with collectors as the first small cent. The 1856 pattern coin is often collected alongside the two circulation issues of the series to form a complete set.
This site presents a number of Flying Eagle Cents available for sale. This includes uncertified, raw examples, as well as coins encapsulated and graded by PCGS and NGC.