1797 DRAPED BUST 1C, REV OF 1797, STEMS MS64 Brown
REVERSE OF 1797. S-135. GLOSSY LIGHT BROWN PLANCHET.
The creation of the American one cent denomination was one of the most important mint inventions during the end of the eighteenth century. What we know as the penny today, a coin many consider relatively useless, was incredibly important for making change and dissolving the power of the many foreign coins still in circulation at this time. Unlike its older sister, the 1800s half-cents, the 1797 one cent bore a Lady Liberty which had a closer resemblance to Mrs. Bingham, whom the draped bust was modeled after.
Unfortunately, due to poor working conditions, multiple inexperienced workers, low copper supplies, and outbreaks of Yellow Fever the young Philadelphia Mint struggled to produce enough large one-cent coins. In fact, the mint had to be closed in both the summer and autumn of 1797 due to a massive outbreak that took 1,292 Philadelphian lives. Furthermore, most of the copper had to be imported because the U.S. made low quality copper that was not durable enough for frequent coin circulation and therefore had to import their copper from England. Due to these devastating and relatively uncontrollable situations, the Mint was considered unreliable for years. Eventually however, conditions bettered over the following year and the First Bank of America opened in Philadelphia in 1798.