Fugio Cent

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One Cent
United States
Value0.01 U.S. dollar
Mass10.2 g
Fugio cent.jpg
"New Haven Restrike", probably produced at the Scovill Mint in Waterbury, Connecticut
Design""Mind Your Business"" Sun and Sun dial
DesignerBenjamin Franklin
Design date1787
Fugio cent reverse.png
Design"We Are One", 13 State Chain Links
DesignerBenjamin Franklin
Design date1787

The Fugio Cent is the first official one-cent piece of United States currency. Consisting of 0.36 oz of copper, its design was inspired by the works of Benjamin Franklin.


Continental Currency 1/3-Dollar (obverse) with inscriptions "Fugio" and "Mind your business".

On April 21, 1787, the Congress of the Confederation of the United States authorized a design for an official copper penny,[1] later referred to as the Fugio cent because of its image of the sun shining down on a sundial with the caption, "Fugio" (Latin: I flee/fly). This coin was reportedly designed by Benjamin Franklin; as a reminder to its holders, he put at its bottom the message, "Mind Your Business." This design was based on the "Continental dollar" coin, which was never circulated. [2]

Some historians believe that the word "business" was intended literally here, as Franklin was an influential and successful businessman. It does not mean "mind your own business" as that phrase is used today, but rather, "pay attention to your affairs." [3]

The reverse side of both the 1776 coins and paper notes, and the 1787 coins, bore the third motto "We Are One" (in English) surrounded by thirteen chain links, representing the original thirteen colonial states.

Following the reform of the central government with the 1789 ratification of the 1787 Constitution, gold and silver coins transitioned to the motto "E pluribus unum" from the Great Seal of the United States.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Norton, Frank Henry; et al. (1875). "Notes and Queries". American Journal of Numismatics. 10 (1): 21. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
  2. ^ "The Story of Money: 11--Coin Design Inspired Fugio Cent". Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Retrieved 28 August 2016.
  3. ^ "300th Birthday Retrospective: The Coinage of Ben Franklin". scvhistory.com. Retrieved 2019-03-21.

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