These large, heavy copper coins are a huge part of coin collecting with the roots of these coins starting in very early America. The mint act of 1792 made it possible to produce these coins. Production began in 1793. These coins were heavily used and traded in the early days of the country. The minting of the large cents was very important to the economy of the mint. The production cost of the silver and gold coins at the time was quite high and the fees charged to mint them for banks was barely enough to cover them. While on the other hand, the mint made quite a bit of money off minting Large cents. Out of every 1000 coins made ($10 Face value), the mint cost was only $6. This was a very significate revenue stream and caused the mint to make the coins nearly continuously and in fact in 1816 they were the only coins produced.
In 1856, the laws were passed allowing the production of smaller Copper-Nickel cents to replace the Large cents. As soon as the new smaller coins came out a wave of nostalgia passed over the people and the remaining large cents on the market were hoarded and collected.