In 1851, it started to cost the U.S. mint more than
a dollar to make a dollar’s-worth of coins (it cost 1.06
to make one hundred large cent coins because they were so big
and there was so much metal in them). Mint officials started
to experiment to see if there was a cheaper way to make a one-cent
coin. The “small cent” coin was the result. It was
the same size of the pennies that we use now.