Cent (Lat. centum, a hundred), a United States coin of the value of 1/100 of a dollar. The act of April 2, 1792, authorized the coinage of a copper cent weighing 264 grains, and a half cent in proportion. The weight of the cent was reduced by the act of Jan. 14, 1703, to 208 grains, and by the act of Jan. 20, 1790, to 108 grains, the half cent being proportionally reduced. The first coinage was executed in 1703. A three-cent coin, three fourths silver and one fourth copper, weighing 12 3/8 grains, was authorized by the act of March 3, 1851, to be a legal tender for any sum not exceeding 30 cents. By the act of March 3, 1853, the fineness of this coin was raised to .900, and its Weight reduced to 3/50 of the half dollar, or 11.52 grains. The coinage of the half cent was discontinued by the act of Feb. 21, 1857, and for the old copper cent was substituted a new coin, composed of 88 per cent. copper and 12 percent. nickel, weighing 72 grains, which continued to be coined until the act of April 22, 1864, provided for the coinage of the bronze cent, consisting of 95 per cent, copper and 5 per cent. tin find zinc, and weighing 48 grains.
The same act authorized the coinage of two-cent pieces weighing 96 grains, and made the one-cent and two-cent coins a legal tender for sums not exceeding 10 cents and 20 cents respectively. A three-cent coin, three fourths copper and one fourth nickel, weighing 30 grains, was authorized by the act of March 3, 1865, which made this coin a legal tender for any sum not exceeding 60 cents. By the same act the one and two-cent coins became each a legal tender to the amount of 4 cents only. The act of May 16, 1866, provided for the coinage of a five-cent piece, three fourths copper and one fourth nickel, weighing 77.16 grains, which was made a legal tender for any sum not exceeding $1. By the act of Feb. 12,1873, known as the "coinage act of 1873," the issuing of coins of the denomination of cent, except a five-cent piece and a three-cent piece (three fourths copper and one fourth nickel) weighing 77.16 and 30 grains, and a one-cent piece (95 per cent, copper and 5 per cent, tin and zinc) weighing 48 grains, was discontinued, and the coins authorized by the act were made "a legal tender, at their nominal value, for any amount not exceeding 25 cents in any one payment." Before the adoption of the constitution, cents were coined under the authority of the .confederation at New Haven, in 1787, and about the same time cents and half cents were coined by local authorities in Vermont and Massachusetts. The number of coins of each kind produced at the mint from its organization to July 30, 1872, is as follows:
Five-cent pieces.. 98.474.000
Three "(nickel). '25.701.0110
Two-cent pieces.. 45.601.000 One " " ..477.!! 11.244
Half " ".. 7,985,223
The total number of pieces is 697,670,057, valued at $12,686,013 25. - Also, a Canadian copper coin, the multiples of which, pieces of 5, 10, 20, 25, and 50 cents, are of silver, having a fineness of .925. These coins are worth about 5 per cent, less than those of the United States of corresponding denomination. (See Coins.)