– Braided Hair Cent (1839 - 1857)

The Braided Hair Cent, minted from 1839 to 1857, represents the final design of the large cent series in American coinage history. 

Designed by Christian Gobrecht, the Braided Hair Cent replaced the earlier Coronet Head design and introduced a new artistic motif that would define the one-cent coin for nearly two decades. 

The obverse of the Braided Hair Cent features a left-facing bust of Liberty with her hair intricately braided and tied at the back. The word "LIBERTY" is inscribed above the bust, and the date of mintage appears below.  

This portrayal of Liberty reflects a departure from the previous coronet design, offering a more natural and graceful representation of the national symbol. 

On the reverse of the coin, a wreath composed of laurel leaves encircles the denomination "ONE CENT," with the inscription "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" surrounding the wreath.  

The laurel wreath symbolizes victory and honor, while the fractional denomination reflects the decimal-based monetary system established by the Coinage Act of 1792. 

Throughout its production, the Braided Hair Cent underwent several modifications to the design, including changes in the size and style of lettering, as well as alterations to the portrait of Liberty.  

The Braided Hair Cent was minted during a period of significant change and growth in the United States, as the nation expanded westward and experienced economic and social transformation.  

The Seated Liberty design itself is emblematic of the values and ideals of the young nation. Liberty, depicted in a seated position, symbolizes stability and strength, while the inclusion of the shield and olive branch speaks to America's commitment to both defense and diplomacy.  

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