This Flying Eagle Hub Types match set was derived by a fellow collector, and now serves as the template for collecting Flying Eagle Cent hub types. A simple date set is not enough for this series; advanced collectors will want an example of each obverse and reverse hub design type – and their marriages. Below are images of the entire Flying Eagle Hub Types Set.
Introduction: Complete Set of Flying Eagle Business Strikes (1857-1858) Master Die or Hub Varieties
This article is not a definitive expert analysis of the business strikes of the Flying Eagle series. I am still a novice in this area, but have been trying to learn. Although I have purchased a few varieties, I don’t have the money for much of a variety collection. Therefore, I’ve been focusing on the master die or hub design varieties as explained in Richard Snow’s article from the December 2001 issue of Longacre’s Ledger “The Unattained goal: A complete set of Flying Eagle and Indian Cents” (referenced below). This is my plan for a collection. Even so, the more expensive coins in my set are of lower quality, but they are reasonably attainable with my resources.
Collecting coins for me has always required a balance between time, financial resources, knowledge of the coins I was interested in and ease of access to coins. As I’ve matured as a penny collector over the past 50 or more years all four limiting aspects have changed. I have more time to dedicate to collecting than I did at any intervening time since my childhood. My resources have improved and the ability to learn about and locate nice coins has exploded with the publication of great references and on-line coin sources. My basic references include Richard Snow’s Attribution Guides, Q. David Bower’s “A Buyer’s and Enthusiast’s Guide to Flying Eagle and Indian Cents”, I’ve also acquired Walter Breen’s “Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. & Colonial Coins” and “Flying Eagle and Indian Cent Varieties” by Larry Steve & Kevin Flynn, which I intend to read.
It is important to define the terms “complete set of master die or hub varieties” since this is a distinction as to the point in the minting process when a variety was created. A master die or hub is an early step in the coining process best described in Richard Snow’s Attribution Guide and Q. David Bower’s book. Another way of looking at this level of variety is to simply say that these are intentional mint design differences. Other varieties may have been deliberate such as over-dates like the 1858/7 made by an engraver when punching the date unto a working die but not an intentional mint design change. Some of the varieties are the result of the economic influences of minting, such as the use of usable working dies and hubs carried over from a previous year (or earlier design from the same year) in combination with the latest design change in the opposing die. This is seen in the 1856 Obverse on the 1857 coin. The varieties presented in this article from 1858 are the result of the pairing of opposing dies of different vintages. For my collection plan I consider the pairing of mint intentional die pairs as legitimate options for my level of collection.
The Flying Eagle series, though only two years in length (for the business strikes) was noted by the researchers whose works I have read as clearly a time of experimentation at the mint. Not only was this a transitional time for the cent size but also for the metal alloy used. A number of experts have written excellent articles about the possible reasons for all of the changes during these two years. Mostly this article is to encourage collectors to consider the value of developing a plan for your collection with an attainable goal considering your resources.
My set pictured below includes the basic eight described in Richard Snow’s attribution guide plus one more, which I’ve added as a possible 9th variety pending Richard’s determination for attribution. This may just be a reworked hub resulting in a shallower reverse and thus the appearance of an open E in ONE.
The complete set of Flying Eagle Hub Types, or hub varieties, is as follows:
- 1857 Obverse of 1856