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The half cent was among the first coin strikes authorized by the U.S. Congress on April 2, 1792. Designed by Adam Eckfeldt and first released in 1793, it was minted at the Philadelphia Mint periodically until 1857. Its metal composition was of copper and weighed of 6.74 grams. It is the smallest-denomination coin ever minted in the United States. Its small buying power and large size 22mm, led to its unpopularity at that time in history. Production of the Half Cent discontinued production on February 21, 1857.

Though it may appear strange nowadays, the U.S. government once issued a coin worth less than one cent: the half cent. The copper Half Cent started in production on April 2, 1792. During its 64-years in circulation the Government stuck five basic design types of the tiny (0.93-in) coin. The Philadelphia Mint was the choice of location for striking the first batch of Half Cent coins. A mint Mark was not forged on the coins. The Half Cent's designers and engravers are amongst the most renowned in U.S. Mint history: Adam Eckfeldt, Robert Scot, John Gardner, Gilbert Stuart, John Reich and Christian Gobrecht. Designs for the Half Cent were also translated for use other coin denominations throughout the years. Below is a brief summary of the Half Cent coinage designs.

Liberty Cap

The 1793 Liberty Cap was the first half cent struck and as a result, is a highly coveted coin for today's coin collectors. The obverse design, is believed to be based on sketches made by Mint Director David Rittenhouse, although it is not known for certain who actually finalized the design and the dies for the first Half Cents strike. The obverse features a portrait of “Liberty” facing left. Her hair is flowing behind her, and ascending from the back of her head is a pole that supports a liberty cap. The reverse features a laurel wreath of leaves and berries which circle the value, “HALF CENT”. In 1794 the “Liberty Cap” half cent saw its first design change after only one year of circulation. This design, “Liberty” is facing to the right. While there were many different forms of this design type, the most famed change, other than the direction of “Liberty”, is that she now is wearing her liberty cap. There are varieties which do place the cap held upright by a pole. The reverse remained the same as the previous designs, with a wreath circling the value, “HALF CENT”.

Draped Burst

Starting in 1800, the Half Cents design changed with the introduction of the "Draped Bust" form. The obverse featured a larger version of “Liberty” facing right. The reverse was graced with the existing wreath already in use. The laurel wreath is a close copy of that seen on 1797 Cents. It displays 16 leaves on the left branch and 19 on the right. “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” surrounds the border and the value “HALF CENT” is centered on the coin with the fraction, 1/200 at the coin's lower edge.

Braided Hair

The last design variety in the “Half Cent” series is the “Braided Hair”. The designer, Christian Gobrecht, used the same Braided Hair conception he used on the cent of 1839. A bust of “Liberty”, facing left, graces the obverse. Her hair is braided into a bun. She wears a tiara inscribed with the word "liberty". The reverse side was a re-introduction of that used on the 1809 rendition. The denomination, “HALF CENT”, is bordered by a wreath, tied at the bottom with a bow, and circled by the legend “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA”.

Here is a sample of popular U.S. half cent coins selling on eBay right now.

1803 Draped Bust Half Cent See Photos
1803 Draped Bust Half Cent See Photos
$11.50
2 n all 1809 Half Cent U B THE JUDGE
2 n all 1809 Half Cent U B THE JUDGE
$38.77
1809 1 2c Classic Head Half Cent NGC AU53 BN Brown Copper Coin sku 6308
1809 1 2c Classic Head Half Cent NGC AU53 BN Brown Copper Coin sku 6308
$153.59
1828 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT Nearly Uncirculated From Estate Free Shipping
1828 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT Nearly Uncirculated From Estate Free Shipping
$71.00
1848 + 1844 Half Cent 2 coins non US Mint coin
1848 + 1844 Half Cent 2 coins non US Mint coin
$46.00
1800 Draped Bust US Half Cent Philadelphia You Grade It H61
1800 Draped Bust US Half Cent Philadelphia You Grade It H61
$43.00
British North Borneo Half Cent 1891 BU Possible Proof
British North Borneo Half Cent 1891 BU Possible Proof
$13.03
1803 Draped Bust US Half Cent Philadelphia You Grade It H66
1803 Draped Bust US Half Cent Philadelphia You Grade It H66
$20.50
1806 Draped Bust US Half Cent Philadelphia Rotated Reverse You Grade It H92
1806 Draped Bust US Half Cent Philadelphia Rotated Reverse You Grade It H92
$34.00
1806 Draped Bust US Half Cent Philadelphia You Grade It H73
1806 Draped Bust US Half Cent Philadelphia You Grade It H73
$61.00
1803 Draped Bust Half Cent Really NICE Details See Pics
1803 Draped Bust Half Cent Really NICE Details See Pics
$9.50
1825 Classic Head Half Cent Partial Liberty Type Coin A2
1825 Classic Head Half Cent Partial Liberty Type Coin A2
$19.51
1808 HALF CENT DRAPED BUST ROTATED DIE VG
1808 HALF CENT DRAPED BUST ROTATED DIE VG
$16.00
1809 HALF CENT CLASSIC VF DETAILS
1809 HALF CENT CLASSIC VF DETAILS
$38.06
1835 Classic Head Half Cent PCGS AU 55
1835 Classic Head Half Cent PCGS AU 55
$130.00
1829 Half Cent Classic Head  Free Shipping
1829 Half Cent Classic Head Free Shipping
$38.76
1828 HALF CENT XF 13 STARS
1828 HALF CENT XF 13 STARS
$41.09
1806 Half Cent Draped Bust Scarce Choice VF++ XF Early Copper  Free S H
1806 Half Cent Draped Bust Scarce Choice VF++ XF Early Copper Free S H
$103.88
STATE OF BORNEO 2 HALF CENT 1903 H
STATE OF BORNEO 2 HALF CENT 1903 H
$8.50
1825 Classic Head Half Cent Liberty Higher Grade Type Coin A1
1825 Classic Head Half Cent Liberty Higher Grade Type Coin A1
$22.50
1803 Draped Bust Half Cent A VERY GOOD Coin
1803 Draped Bust Half Cent A VERY GOOD Coin
$32.00
1804 Draped Bust Half Cent Crosslet 4
1804 Draped Bust Half Cent Crosslet 4
$26.66
1804 Half Cent
1804 Half Cent
$26.00
1804 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT C 13 PLAIN 4 NO STEMS VERY FINE
1804 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT C 13 PLAIN 4 NO STEMS VERY FINE
$56.99
1794 7 LIBERTY CAP HALF CENT PLAIN EDGE
1794 7 LIBERTY CAP HALF CENT PLAIN EDGE
$22.50
Nice 1804 Draped Bust Spiked Chin Half Cent
Nice 1804 Draped Bust Spiked Chin Half Cent
$27.00
1828 Classic Half Cent 13 Star Very Good
1828 Classic Half Cent 13 Star Very Good
$7.00
1835 1 2C Half Cent Gem Uncirculated Nice Brown Example
1835 1 2C Half Cent Gem Uncirculated Nice Brown Example
$52.00
1803 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT CIRCULATED COIN NICE COND FOR A 212 YR OLD
1803 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT CIRCULATED COIN NICE COND FOR A 212 YR OLD
$16.50
1807 HALF CENT99 CENT STARTNR
1807 HALF CENT99 CENT STARTNR
$9.50

Use this search tool, find Rare and Certified U.S. Coins:




1803 Draped Bust Half Cent See Photos,  2 n all 1809 Half Cent U B THE JUDGE,  1809 1 2c Classic Head Half Cent NGC AU53 BN Brown Copper Coin sku 6308,  1828 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT Nearly Uncirculated From Estate Free Shipping,  1848 + 1844 Half Cent 2 coins non US Mint coin ,  1800 Draped Bust US Half Cent Philadelphia You Grade It H61,  British North Borneo Half Cent 1891 BU Possible Proof,  1803 Draped Bust US Half Cent Philadelphia You Grade It H66,  1806 Draped Bust US Half Cent Philadelphia Rotated Reverse You Grade It H92,  1806 Draped Bust US Half Cent Philadelphia You Grade It H73,  1803 Draped Bust Half Cent Really NICE Details See Pics,  1804 Draped Bust Half Cent See Photos,  1825 Classic Head Half Cent Partial Liberty Type Coin A2,  1808 HALF CENT DRAPED BUST ROTATED DIE VG,  1809 HALF CENT CLASSIC VF DETAILS,  1835 Classic Head Half Cent PCGS AU 55,  1829 Half Cent Classic Head Free Shipping,  1828 HALF CENT XF 13 STARS,  1806 Half Cent Draped Bust Scarce Choice VF++ XF Early Copper Free S H,  STATE OF BORNEO 2 HALF CENT 1903 H,  1825 Classic Head Half Cent Liberty Higher Grade Type Coin A1,  1803 Draped Bust Half Cent A VERY GOOD Coin,  1804 Draped Bust Half Cent Crosslet 4,  1804 Half Cent,  1804 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT C 13 PLAIN 4 NO STEMS VERY FINE,  1794 7 LIBERTY CAP HALF CENT PLAIN EDGE,  Nice 1804 Draped Bust Spiked Chin Half Cent,  1828 Classic Half Cent 13 Star Very Good,  1835 1 2C Half Cent Gem Uncirculated Nice Brown Example,  1803 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT CIRCULATED COIN NICE COND FOR A 212 YR OLD ,  

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