Composition and Specifications

The Draped Bust Cent represented the first series for the denomination to be struck on somewhat standardized planchets, although some variety can still be noted. Struck out of pure copper, they weigh 10.89 grams (168 grains) and are approximately 29 millimeters. All have a plain edge and a rim which consists of dentils, as had been introduced in 1794.

As with all early American coins, production quality varies greatly on these pieces, as does the survival rate of high quality coins. It should not be forgotten that the purpose of these now historic coins was to circulate, with very few collectors present at the time to save pieces from circulation. That said, it might come as a surprise that some issues are represented by exceptional high quality coins, which somehow escaped the fate of long and heavy circulation.

Whatever the reasons were, these high quality uncirculated examples remain rare, especially with original Mint red coloration, which are the greatest rarities. Coins which did circulate are surprisingly plentiful, but often come with various problems like corrosion, cleaning, or damaged surfaces. Finding a problem-free, nicely circulated example of the Draped Bust Cent type might require some time, but it will reward the conscious collector with a scarce and much sought-after coin.