The United States started minting one cent coins nationally in 1793. While some of the older ones are very rare and atop many a detectors’ bucket lists, later-year large cents aren’t all that uncommon. However, they were uncommon to me. In an area rich in colonial-era and early- to mid-1800s relics, I just couldn’t seem to find one. While better coins are out there, the large cent — ANY large cent — topped my bucket list.
As the summer of ’13 was winding down, I found myself detecting in solitude on an old property in Northern New Jersey. The ground was chock full of iron, making good sgnals difficult to hear. After recovering a bunch of rusty nails, I was starting to feel less than optimistic. Minelab CTX 3030 started to get yet another iffy signal. This one sounded deep, but I wasn’t sure if it was anything good. But still I had to dig.
After digging rather deeply (about 8 inches) I pulled out another rusty nail. Sigh… but after re-scanning the hole there was another target still in there. So I dug a little more and out popped a round coin-like object. After being a little stunned (since I was expecting another nail) I knew exactly what I was looking at. A large cent!! I had done it! I got the coin I have been hunting for! The year was 1839!
The video below captures my excitement.
High on a good find, I continued to detect. Not long later I got a good signal and dug. No way! Another large cent!!! 1846!! Two! I couldn’t believe it!
As you can see from the photo below, large cents are called large for a reason! I believe at the time they were called “one cent” until 1857 when the Flying Eagle penny came out, which is the size of our modern penny.