US Coins

Two obverses, no date on Flying Eagle pattern cent

One of the more focused collections to come to market in recent memory was Steve Brewer’s group of Flying Eagle cent patterns, which sold at Kagin’s March 9 to 10 auctions.

The collector was attracted to the series because of the relative value of the various patterns, especially when compared to the popular (and expensive) 1856 Flying Eagle cent pattern that is regularly collected as part of the regular issue series (the piece cataloged as Judd 180).

He said of the much rarer but less expensive Judd 184 variety, “I’m no math genius but how can something with a population of around 2,000 pieces cost twice as much as one with a population of 12 or so?”


Flying Eagle cent: The Flying Eagle cent is one of the shortest-lived series of United States coins, having been produced for circulation only in 1857 and 1858. How much are Flying Eagle cents worth?

Here is one of three we profile in this week’s Market Analysis that showcase the diverse collecting opportunities in this field. 

The Lot:

Undated (1858) two-headed Flying Eagle cent pattern, Judd 219, Proof 62

The Price:


The Story:

One of the coolest pieces was a unique Flying Eagle cent pattern with two obverses and no date from 1858. The two-headed Flying Eagle cent was graded Proof 62 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. and brought $50,525. Of the two sides, it’s a guess as to which is the obverse, but tradition calls the side with no legend the obverse.

Connect with Coin World:  

Sign up for our free eNewsletter
Like us on Facebook  
Follow us on Twitter

It is listed as Judd 219 in J. Hewitt Judd’s United States Pattern Coins, and its pedigree traces back to 1870. It was even displayed as part of an exhibit at the American Numismatic Society in 1914.

One dollar Federal Reserve noteThe fight against the paper dollar has been renewed: Inside Coin World: Newly introduced legislation on Capitol Hill is not the first attack on the paper dollar. Calls for its elimination have been voiced since the 1970s.

Flying Eagle and Indian cent expert Rick Snow helped catalog the Brewer Collection; many of its pieces have appeared in Snow’s books.

Brewer offered some lessons for collectors: look for unusual things that make a coin unique, seek out the finest known and look at true rarity, watch out for “gradeflation,” and don’t forget to have fun!

Keep Reading About Brewer’s collection of Flying Eagle pattern cents:

Odd planchet 1855 Flying EagleThe catalog entry suggests that the golden hue to the surfaces indicates it is oroide, a mix of copper and tin: The eagle on this Judd 169 1855 Flying Eagle pattern for a large cent has a more pronounced muscularity and curved neck when compared to James B. Longacre’s design.

Community Comments