The year 1856 saw a lot of changes in coins in this country. We
were finally established enough that we no longer had to circulate
foreign coins to fulfill the needs of business and our industrial
might was starting to flourish. The price of copper rose to the point
that a cent was worth as much in metal as it was in buying power. So
new sizes of copper coins were begun when the Flying Eagle
Small Cents introduced the size of cents we still use today. In
1859 we saw a major design change to the Indian Head Cent
which actually isnt a Native American but a representation of
Liberty wearing an Indian headdress. We also tried some
experiments in metals; copper-nickel was used from 1859-64 before we
settled on a bronze mixture we would use for more than the next 100
Here we list the first part of our Small Cent series; the Flying Eagle Type (1856-58) and the Indian Head Type (1859-1909).
Good reference works for these types of coin are The Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins by Walter Breen and Flying Eagle and Indian Cent Die Varieties by Larry Steve and Kevin Flynn.
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