Draped Bust Large Cent Values

How Much Draped Bust Large Cent​s are Worth: Draped Bust Large Cent​ Values & Coin Price Chart

Plain 4- Stemless Wreath

Description and History

Eighteen Styles of Draped Bust Large Cents From 1796-1807

Large Cents were extremely important for commerce at the close of the 18th century but the coins produced by the United States Mint up to this time were not of the highest quality nor were the designs much appreciated. While they were acceptable, they lacked the sophistication of European designs.

The quality of these one-cent coins was another matter entirely. The US Mint had problems obtaining sufficient quantities of quality blanks. As a new customer of the English firms producing these blanks, the US Mint didn’t always receive the best quality blanks. Additionally, the rolling mills that the Mint used to ensure all blanks were the same thickness were, at best, inconsistent. Critique in the press of the day centered on the inexperience of the staff, inadequate funding of the operations and general mismanagement.

Into this maelstrom stepped Robert Scot, who had recently been named as Chief Engraver of the United States Mint, a position in which he served from 1793 until his death in 1823. Scot was born in Scotland and emigrated to the United States in 1775. He moved to Virginia where he engraved plates for Virginia colonial currency. In 1780 he was named the Chief Engraver of the Commonwealth of Virginia. He soon moved to Philadelphia and engraved many projects there. He came to the attention of President Washington who admired his talents. Upon the untimely death of Joseph Wright of yellow fever in Philadelphia in 1793, Scot was named Chief Engraver of the United States Mint.

One of Scot’s early challenges for the US Mint was to create a more refined style of representing Miss Liberty on American coinage. Scot created what has been called the “Draped Bust” design. Modeled after a sketch by Gilbert Stuart, Miss Liberty faces right. A ribbon holds her hair back and a draped gown is at her shoulders. The word “LIBERTY” is above her head and the date is below her. The reverse depicts an olive wreath with the words “ONE CENT” separated inside the wreath. “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” surmounts the wreath and a numerical denomination of “1/100” is below. The design was simple yet more sophisticated than previous designs.

This new Draped Bust design replaced the former Liberty Cap design. It was well-received by both the public and by US Mint officials. The 1796-dated Draped Bust Large Cents entered circulation around July of 1796. The Mint struck 363,375 coins, all varieties of Large Cents dated 1796. The obverse was paired with as many as 5 different reverses, one of which is extremely rare and another is just a scarce variety. The rare reverse has no stems coming off the wreath and only 3 examples are known. There is a variety where Liberty is incorrectly spelled as LIHERTY, which is a rather scarce error variety. Spelling and overdate errors are fairly common in early US coinage as their quality control was generally non-existent.

The new Draped Bust Large Cent – 1796 to 1807

In 1797, the same obverse die was used and there are 4 distinct coins – one with a Plain Edge, one with a Gripped Edge and 2 with Stems and Stemless Reverses. Approximately 897,510 coins dated 1797 were minted.

For 1798-dated coins, there are 4 varieties, none of which are particularly scarce. There were 1,841,745 coins struck bearing the 1798 date. 1799 dated Draped Bust Large Cents have only two known varieties but both of them are very scarce. There were estimated to have been only 42,540 coins struck but that number is subject to debate by numismatic scholars.

There are three varieties of 1800 Dated Large Cents, none of which is particularly scarce. 2,822,175 coins were struck that were dated 1800. By 1801 mintages stabilized and started to grow. There are 4 varieties of coins and 1,362,837 coins were struck.

In 1802, 3 different varieties were struck and none of them are scarce but a large number of coins were struck – 3,435,100. In 1803, there were six varieties and one of them is extremely scarce. The Large Date with Small Fraction is 100 times rarer than the most common coin in Fine grade. 1804 is a very interesting year in that the Mint only struck 96,500 coins and all of them are rare in any grade. There is also an unofficial restrike, made circa 1860 for collectors. It is only known in uncirculated conditions.

1804 Unofficial Large Cent

Heading towards the end of the Draped Bust Large Cents, 1805 saw 941,116 coins struck and 1806 saw 348,000 coins struck and there are no varieties of either date. The final year was 1807 with 829,221 coins struck and 5 varieties of coins were struck with one of them being scarce and 1 of them rare!