The U.S. Mint's First Coins: The Large and Half Cent Pieces
The United States has transformed in 220 plus years since it declared independence. The simple Horse and Buggy was replaced by Model Ts, Model T's by the gas guzzlers of our youth, and those gas guzzlers became the complex electric cars driven today by millions; Alexander Graham Bell's single operator telephone was replaced by the touch-digit home-phones, which have since been replaced by miniature personal computers that fit into our pocket! As the country has changed so has our coinage - but like many things, nothing can replace the originals.
There are two denominations that we produced before the turn of the 20th century that had a significant impact on our monetary system. Some collectors may not even know that these coins existed, but that does not mean they are not some of the most iconic collector's pieces.
The Large Cent
The Large Cent was one of the first two coins struck by the U.S. Mint back in 1793. The weight of the former cent was double that of the Half Cent, earning it the nickname "The Large" cent. These large copper coins were 26-29 mm in diameter, and when compared with today's quarter at 24.3 mm, they truly were a "Large" Cent. In 1857 the cost of copper had exceeded the actual denomination value of the coin, which resulted in the United States Mint creating a much smaller cent to replace the "Large Cent": this replacement coin is our modern day penny. Each of our large coppers are authentic, hand selected circulated coins, encapsulated in our custom protective lens. These mammoth sized pennies were issued until 1875, with all coins being struck at the Philadelphia Mint.
The Half Cent
The other first U.S. Mint Coin I made reference to above was the half cent. Being one of the first two coins made by the U.S. Mint, it is considered to be one of our colonial classics. It is the lowest face value ever placed on a U.S. Coin! The Half Cent circulated much more than its "large" counterpart due to the smaller denominations affordability at the time. This has resulted in the Half Cent being a very scarce coin in quality condition, making it a true collectors coin.
Did You Know? If you add all the Large and Half Cents ever produced between 1793 and 1857, it totals less than a single day's production at the modern Philadelphia Mint!!!