The Braided Hair Cent was issued from 1839 until 1857 and represented the final series of large cents before the introduction of the small cent into circulation. First it appeared in 1839 as a modification to the old Matron head design. The most obvious difference between the two, besides the shape of the head, is the braiding of the hair from Liberty's ear to her forehead. By 1839, the technical skills of the mint employees had improved to the point where differences in individual dies were almost microscopic in detail, as opposed to the gross differences on earlier Large Cents (for example: stemless wreaths, mis-numbered stars, incorrect fractions, etc.).

No large cents were struck after 1857. They, and the half cents, simply became too expensive to produce any longer. Some 11 years after the large cent was discontinued, a mint employee coined several large cents dated 1868, almost certainly for sale as instant rarities to numismatists. Fewer than a dozen of these unofficial issues, struck in both bronze and copper-nickel, are known to survive.

Engraver: Christian Gobrecht


Liberty, facing left, with the word LIBERTY on her headband. Thirteen stars, representing the original thirteen states appears around with the date below.

For the first years of the series up to 1843 the head is small and tilted forward. It was enlarged in 1843 and that design continued to be struck until the end of the series.

Art historians and numismatists believe that Gobrecht’s inspiration for the new 1839 design was the classic figure of Love in Benjamin West’s painting, Omnia Vincit Amor (Love Conquers All), created early in the 19th century. The braided hair over Liberty’s brow, her coronet and the long, loose locks flowing down her neck reflect the famed Empire style, then a decade out of date in Europe but firmly fixed in American hair and clothing fashions of the day.



Depicts a wreath of olive leaves was featured with ONE CENT in the center. The inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, evenly spaced, is seen around, close to the rim.



1 Cent

Braided Hair Cent
KM# 67
Material Bronze
Weight 10.89 g
Diameter 27.5 mm
Thickness 2.39 mm
Shape round
Alignment Coin
Philadelphia Mint (P)

Related coins

Draped Bust Large Cent

Copper, 10.89 g, ⌀ 29 mm
Coronet Large Cent / Matron Head

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Flying Eagle Cent

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