Large cents were first struck in 1793 and were issued every year until 1857 except for 1815 due to a fire at the Mint.

The first large cent featured the head of Liberty with flowing hair on the obverse and "One Cent" surrounded by a chain on the reverse. This coin wasn't well received as people didn’t like the chain, thinking it to represent bondage and the opposite of liberty. Strangely, it became a popular sign of good luck in later years.

The second large cent design again featured the head of Liberty with flowing hair on the obverse, but a wreath replaced the chain on the reverse. Still not well-liked by the public, the obverse of this coin was soon replaced with a new Liberty wearing a cap.

This Liberty Cap design lasted from 1793 until 1796 and includes many different varieties. In 1796, it was replaced with the Draped Bust Liberty, and in 1808, Lady Liberty was given a crown, turned to face the left, and surrounded by stars. She was then changed again in 1816 to the Matron Head, and again in 1839 to the Braided Hair Liberty.

Throughout the many variations of Lady Liberty, the reverse remained essentially the same – "one cent" surrounded by a wreath encircled by "United States of America."

The coin’s weight was reduced in 1795, but it was still bulky, so in 1857, it was discontinued and replaced with small cents.

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Legendary Coins and Currency

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Society of U.S. Pattern Collectors

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