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Flying Eagle Cents (1856-1858)

America's first small-size cents

During the early years of the nation, 1¢ coins were struck in pure copper and larger than a quarter. But as the buying power of a penny diminished, these large, hefty coins became unpopular to carry around – and were often not even accepted at face value. By the 1850s, the price of copper had risen until it cost more than one cent to make a 1¢ coin. The Mint was losing money, and it was time for smaller, less expensive coins...

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