The large cent denomination was underway in 1793 with the Flowing Hair design. Within the course of just a single year, the original design was modified with a new reverse, and then the obverse design was also changed to create a new series. These early cents are extremely scarce and the life-long focus of some advanced collectors.
The obverse design features an early impression of Liberty, facing right. Her hair is swept directly back as if by wind and her face carries an unusual impression. This appearance led many to refer to this as “frightened Liberty”. The inscription “Liberty” above and the date “1793” below complete the obverse design, which was engraved by Henry Voigt.
The original obverse design carried a ring of 15 interlocked links within a chain, surrounding the denomination “One Cent”, which was also expressed as a fraction. The words “United States of America” surround. This early design received criticism since the chain could be mistaken for different symbolism than intended. A revised reverse design featured a wreath with sprays of berries surrounding the denomination. Further modification would come in the subsequent series.
For the Flowing Hair Large Cent:
- The overall number of coins minted was a mere 99,456 pieces across both designs.
- The 1793 Chain Cent is the scarcer, and also enjoys stronger demand.
- The Wreath Cent includes a famous variety known as the “Strawberry leaf” reverse.
Flowing Hair Large Cent Mintages
Source: Flowing Hair Cent