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Large Cents

Large Cents

Immerse yourself in the rich history of large U.S. cents, which were minted from 1793 to 1857. These early American coins, about the size of a modern half-dollar, were the first official currency of the fledgling nation. They featured various designs, including Lady Liberty, and were a staple in everyday transactions. However, due to their size and cost of production, they were replaced by the smaller Flying Eagle Cent in 1857. Explore L&C Coins’ captivating selection of historic large cents for sale.

The Rich History of Large Cents


The origin of the large cents can be traced back to the early days of the United States. After achieving independence, the nation was determined to solidify its own currency system, distinguished from the colonial British coins and the miscellaneous foreign coins that were then circulating throughout the land.

The Coinage Act of 1792 laid the foundation for the U.S. Mint and the creation of American coins. Large cents were among the first coins minted by the U.S., starting in 1793. Made primarily of copper, they were meant to facilitate everyday transactions and establish a national identity through currency. Before these cents, a medley of foreign coins, especially Spanish silver, dominated the American market.


Large cents, like those for sale here at L&C Coins, underwent several design changes during their circulation from 1793 to 1857. The first of these cents, known as the Chain Cent, was designed by Henry Voigt and featured 13 interlocking chains representing the original states. However, it was criticized and quickly replaced by the Wreath Cent in 1793.

Subsequent designs included the Liberty Cap, Draped Bust, Classic Head, and Coronet, with the effigy of Lady Liberty undergoing various stylistic changes. The depiction of Liberty was chosen to symbolize American values and freedom. Some designs, such as the Draped Bust, were created by Chief Engraver Robert Scot. The coin’s large size allowed for intricate designs, making them highly valued by collectors for their aesthetic and historical significance.

Circulation and Availability

Large cents were minted from 1793 to 1857, with millions of coins produced over this period. However, the exact mintage varied by year and design. The Chain Cent of 1793, for instance, had a low mintage due to public criticism. 

These unique cents were cumbersome, and the rising cost of copper made them impractical. Consequently, they were replaced by the smaller Flying Eagle Cent in 1857. The last design, the Coronet, faced metal shortages and other production challenges, ultimately leading to the coin's discontinuation.


Explore Large Cents & More for Sale at L&C Coins

Venture into the world of numismatics with L&C Coins, a family-operated treasure trove that has been serving coin enthusiasts since 1974. Founded by Lee Crane in Southern California, L&C Coins has flourished as a trusted and reputable source in the coin-collecting community. With our large inventory and free shipping on all standard orders, L&C Coins caters to the discerning tastes of both novice and seasoned collectors. Explore our selection today and grow your collection with a brand-new piece! Don't hesitate to reach out to our coinage experts for assistance.


Frequently-Asked Questions

What designs are featured on large cents available for sale?

These cents featured various designs which are now available for collectors today, with Lady Liberty being a common motif. Some notable designs include the Chain Cent (1793), the Liberty Cap (1793-1796), the Draped Bust (1796-1807), the Classic Head (1808-1814), and the Coronet (1816-1857).

Why were large cents discontinued?

These cents were discontinued due to the rising cost of copper and their bulky size, which made them impractical for everyday transactions. They were replaced by the smaller and more economical Flying Eagle Cent in 1857.

When were these cents minted, and what were they made of?

Large cents were the first coins minted by the United States and circulated from 1793 to 1857. They were about the size of a modern half-dollar and predominantly made of copper.

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