Small Cents

The Small Cent has been with us since 1856. It succeeded the Large Cent, first introduced in 1793. By the time the Small Cent was introduced, its predecessor was already antiquated. Twice during the history of the Large Cent, the metal content of the coin became so expensive to purchase that the manufacture exceeded its face value.  The Large Cent had been unpopular since the 1840s. It was really too large, it became unsightly once it circulated and toned and it was too heavy. Since only silver and gold coins were legal tender, banks and merchants often refused to accept the coins in commerce unless they were deeply discounted below face value.