United States Cents

The United States Mint has struck a vast variety of coins since its inception in 1792, with the first denomination authorized that same year. The Half Cent is the lowest in face value struck by the United States Mint with three different weight changes before landing on 84 grains in 1796.


The Half Cent, having various intermissions in production years, was produced from 1793 through 1857 with its varying design runs. The Liberty Cap was minted from 1793 through 1797 with its own design changes from Head Facing Left to Head Facing Right. The Draped Bust was minted from 1800 through 1808.  The longest run of Half Cents was the Classic Head minted from 1809 through 1836. The run of Half Cents ended with the Braided Hair, which was minted from 1840 through 1857.


In 1793 the production began for the Large Cents. The coinage began under laws specifying that the cent should weigh exactly twice as much as the Half Cent. The Large Cents were minted every year from 1793 to 1857. However, in 1815 there was a lack of copper production which prevented the mint from producing Large Cents that year. The Flowing Hair was the first design produced, and was only produced in 1793. In 1793 a change was made to the portrait due to many objections regarding the obverse portrait creating the Liberty Cap design that ran from 1793 through 1796. After that, the designs for the Large Cent changed multiple times with many variations. The Draped Bust was minted from 1796 through 1807, follow by the Classic Head from 1808 through 1814, then the Liberty Head from 1816 through 1857, with an overlap of the Matron Head. The Matron Head was minted from 1816 through 1835, with a modification to The “ Young Head “ which was the final design running from 1835 through 1857 resulting in the passing of  the Half Cent and Large Cent This was due to the rising cost of making and distributing copper coins, which made way for a smaller cent introduced in 1857.


The Flying Eagle Cent weighed 72 grains, with a 88% Copper and 12% Nickel composition. It was a short run design made from 1856 to 1858, and was preceded by the Indian Head Cent.


The Indian Head Cent was issued in 1859 for the first time as a representation of Liberty wearing and Indian Headdress, not an actual Native American as many thought. The Indian Head Cent was also referred to as “ nickels “ or “ nicks “ prior to the issuance of five cent pieces in 1866, and later referred to as “ white cents”. The Indian Head Cent was produced from 1859 - 1909 when it was replaced by the ever popular Lincoln Cent.


The widely popular Lincoln Cent holds the title of first in many ways. It was the first coin to depict a actual person and paved the way for for the depiction of a real life person on all other U.S coins we use to date.  The Lincoln Wheat Cent was produced from 1909 through 1958.  The Lincoln Cent was designed by Victor David Brenner. During the initial design and production of the Lincoln Cent , Brenner placed his initials on the lower section of the reverse “ V.D.B “ and people demanded their removal, calling the initials “gigantic”. Only 484,000 had been produced at the San Fransisco Mint with his initials. Due to the removal, this made the 1909-S V.D.B Lincoln Cent highly valued. In 1943, due to a copper shortage during the war, the Treasury used zinc - coated steel to make cents. Afterward the bronze cents resumed from 1944 through 1958. From 1959 through 2008, on the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincolns birth, the Lincoln Memorial Reverse was introduced. This was followed by the One-Cent coins issued in 2009 as a tribute to President Lincoln honoring the bicentennial of his birth, as well as, the 100th anniversary of the first issuance of the Lincoln Cent.  These four designs depict four major aspects of is life. The first, “ Birth and Early Childhood”. The Second, “Formative Years”. The Third, “ Professional Life”, and the final his “Presidency”. This was followed by the present day Shield Reverse deign that has been in issue since 2010.  The Lincoln Cent issued from 1909 - present date is the longest running U.S Coin in history with no change imminent thus far. Once more, being produced by the billions, it is also the largest produced coin on earth.