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Obverse of 1794 Large Cent - Sheldon 24     Reverse of 1794 Large Cent - Sheldon 24


Years minted:
1793    1794    1795    1796 

Designer: Robert Scot

Diameter: 28 millimeters

Metal content:
Copper - 100%

Weight: 208 grains (13.5 grams), reduced to 168 grains (10.9 grams) at the end of 1795

Edge: Lettered: ONE HUNDRED FOR A DOLLAR (through 1795), plain (beginning in 1795), or with experimental, vertical reeding (on one 1795 variety)

Mintmarks: None (all examples of this type were struck at Philadelphia)

Images courtesy of Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles

The Liberty Cap design features a bust of a young Miss Liberty, her hair flowing freely, with a staff and cap over her left shoulder.  The cap represents freedom -- hats such as this were given to slaves once they became free.  The freedom cap was a popular symbol in America during the Revolutionary War, appearing on numerous buttons worn by patriots and soldiers.  Miss Liberty represents the new American nation -- her presence on the coin was mandated by government officials.

The Liberty Cap design, attributed to Mint Engraver Robert Scot, was used on U.S. One Cent coins from 1793 to 1796.  The Half Cent was the only other U.S. coin to bear the Liberty Cap design.

The reverse design features a simple wreath surrounded by the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.  The denomination appears within the wreath as ONE CENT and below the ribbon as a fraction.

The official weight of the coins was set at 208 grains, making them thick enough for the denomination to be applied as lettering on the edge of the coin: ONE HUNDRED FOR A DOLLAR.  At the end of 1795, President George Washington reduced the weight to 168 grains, thus some of the One Cent coins from 1795 and all subsequent issues have plain edges (some rare experimental edge types of 1795 and 1797 being exceptions).

The Liberty Cap design was replaced by the Draped Bust design in 1796.

Except for 1793, this type is common and can be obtained easily.  However, Uncirculated examples are rare and valuable.  Many die varieties exist for this series, creating a popular diversion for advanced collectors.

Click on any of the date links at upper left to learn about mintages, die varieties, and other interesting information.