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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.

1837 Half Cent Token
1837 Half Cent Token
$53.00
1829 CLASSIC HEAD US HALF CENT F CONDITION
1829 CLASSIC HEAD US HALF CENT F CONDITION
$29.99
1828 Classic Head Half Cent VG details condition No Reserve
1828 Classic Head Half Cent VG details condition No Reserve
$10.50
Very Nice 1809 Classic Head 1 2 Half Cent Old US Copper Coin AS SHOWN 5390
Very Nice 1809 Classic Head 1 2 Half Cent Old US Copper Coin AS SHOWN 5390
$17.50
1829 1 2C BN Classic Head Half Cent
1829 1 2C BN Classic Head Half Cent
$46.00
1804 Draped Bust 1 2 Half Cent Old US Coin AS SHOWN 5415
1804 Draped Bust 1 2 Half Cent Old US Coin AS SHOWN 5415
$15.50
1804 Half Cent Draped bust 1 2C NO RESERVE 3165
1804 Half Cent Draped bust 1 2C NO RESERVE 3165
$26.00
1853 Braided Hair Half Cent Brown AU Uncirculated  FREE SHIPPING
1853 Braided Hair Half Cent Brown AU Uncirculated FREE SHIPPING
$66.00
1834 Classic Head Half Cent PCGS Genuine UNC Details Read
1834 Classic Head Half Cent PCGS Genuine UNC Details Read
$48.77
1828 Classic Head Half Cent 1 2C PCGS MS63RB Rattler Holder No Reserve
1828 Classic Head Half Cent 1 2C PCGS MS63RB Rattler Holder No Reserve
$473.00
1837 Half Cent Hard Times Token VF NR
1837 Half Cent Hard Times Token VF NR
$54.53
Decent Hi Grade Brown 1834 Half Cent Glossy with a Few Problems Nothing Serious
Decent Hi Grade Brown 1834 Half Cent Glossy with a Few Problems Nothing Serious
$33.03
Decent Hi Grade Brown 1857 Half Cent Glossy with a Few Problems Nothing Serious
Decent Hi Grade Brown 1857 Half Cent Glossy with a Few Problems Nothing Serious
$42.99
1834 HALF CENT 1 2 cent US Coin Classic Head LOW MINTAGE Half Penny
1834 HALF CENT 1 2 cent US Coin Classic Head LOW MINTAGE Half Penny
$30.99
1850 ULTRA GEM HIGH GRADE HALF CENT FROM BIG COLLECTION
1850 ULTRA GEM HIGH GRADE HALF CENT FROM BIG COLLECTION
$90.01
1853 ULTRA HIGH GRADE HALF CENT FROM BIG COLLECTION
1853 ULTRA HIGH GRADE HALF CENT FROM BIG COLLECTION
$53.55
1854 HIGH GRADE HALF CENT FROM BIG COLLECTION
1854 HIGH GRADE HALF CENT FROM BIG COLLECTION
$34.33
1887 H British North Borneo Half Cent KM 1 Bronze Coin
1887 H British North Borneo Half Cent KM 1 Bronze Coin
$5.31
1800 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT NICE DETAIL NICE COIN
1800 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT NICE DETAIL NICE COIN
$53.00
1807 Draped Bust Half Cent
1807 Draped Bust Half Cent
$25.30
1800 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT ONLY 202908 WERE MINTED 214 YEARS OLD
1800 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT ONLY 202908 WERE MINTED 214 YEARS OLD
$36.99
1828 13 Stars Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping
1828 13 Stars Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping
$21.00
1797 Liberty Cap Half Cent PCGS Coin is graded XF Details Look
1797 Liberty Cap Half Cent PCGS Coin is graded XF Details Look
$360.00
1834 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT ONLY 141000 WERE MINTED 180 YEARS OLD
1834 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT ONLY 141000 WERE MINTED 180 YEARS OLD
$5.50
1825 Half Cent Draped Bust  Free Shipping
1825 Half Cent Draped Bust Free Shipping
$102.50
1803 Half Cent very nice
1803 Half Cent very nice
$28.00
1803 Draped Bust Half Cent F+ Condition Free Shipping
1803 Draped Bust Half Cent F+ Condition Free Shipping
$11.50
1804 Draped Bust Half Cent Spiked Chin F+ Condition Free Shipping
1804 Draped Bust Half Cent Spiked Chin F+ Condition Free Shipping
$4.97
1851 Half Cent Ch AU  99 No Reserve TRUE AUCTION
1851 Half Cent Ch AU 99 No Reserve TRUE AUCTION
$26.99
1832 HIGH GRADE HALF CENT FROM MY TYPE SET
1832 HIGH GRADE HALF CENT FROM MY TYPE SET
$12.00

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




1837 Half Cent Token,  1829 CLASSIC HEAD US HALF CENT F CONDITION,  1828 Classic Head Half Cent VG details condition No Reserve,  Very Nice 1809 Classic Head 1 2 Half Cent Old US Copper Coin AS SHOWN 5390,  1851 Braided Hair 1 2 Half Cent Coin Old US Coin AS SHOWN 5402,  1829 1 2C BN Classic Head Half Cent,  1804 Draped Bust 1 2 Half Cent Old US Coin AS SHOWN 5415,  1804 Half Cent Draped bust 1 2C NO RESERVE 3165,  1853 Braided Hair Half Cent Brown AU Uncirculated FREE SHIPPING ,  1834 Classic Head Half Cent PCGS Genuine UNC Details Read,  1828 Classic Head Half Cent 1 2C PCGS MS63RB Rattler Holder No Reserve,  1837 Half Cent Hard Times Token VF NR,  Decent Hi Grade Brown 1834 Half Cent Glossy with a Few Problems Nothing Serious,  Decent Hi Grade Brown 1857 Half Cent Glossy with a Few Problems Nothing Serious,  1834 HALF CENT 1 2 cent US Coin Classic Head LOW MINTAGE Half Penny,  1850 ULTRA GEM HIGH GRADE HALF CENT FROM BIG COLLECTION,  1853 ULTRA HIGH GRADE HALF CENT FROM BIG COLLECTION,  1854 HIGH GRADE HALF CENT FROM BIG COLLECTION,  1887 H British North Borneo Half Cent KM 1 Bronze Coin,  1800 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT NICE DETAIL NICE COIN,  1807 Draped Bust Half Cent,  1800 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT ONLY 202908 WERE MINTED 214 YEARS OLD,  1828 13 Stars Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping,  1797 Liberty Cap Half Cent PCGS Coin is graded XF Details Look,  1835 1 2C BN Classic Head Half Cent,  1834 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT ONLY 141000 WERE MINTED 180 YEARS OLD,  1825 Half Cent Draped Bust Free Shipping,  1835 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT,  1803 Half Cent very nice,  1803 Draped Bust Half Cent F+ Condition Free Shipping,  

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