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Large Cents

Benjamin Franklin submitted the idea for the first design for the U.S. One Cent Piece as well as advocated for the use of "Cent" as the denomination over the familiar British currency unit known as the Penny. While the "Fugio Cent" designed by James Jarvis was minted along the lines of Franklin's idea it was a piece of official Contract Coinage and not issued directly by the Federal Government. It did set a rough standard for subsequent designs insofar as size, weight and composition. At 24mm it was large and it was of 100% copper composition. These two traits were carried over to the first officially minted One Cent Pieces struck from the dies engraved by Adam Eckfeldt from the sketches of David Rittenhouse. Of course weight, size and purity varied over time but all of the One Cent Pieces struck during the first 64 years of the Republic held basically to the conventions set by these first specimens. In 1856 a radical change in size and composition occurred with the Flying Eagle Cent being only 19 mm and of a Copper-nickel composition. These small Cents replaced the older design and thus old cents became known as Large Cents.

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