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