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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.

2 British Straits Settlements 1 2 half cent copper coins 1916 1932 King George V
2 British Straits Settlements 1 2 half cent copper coins 1916 1932 King George V
$2.25
1809 half cent
1809 half cent
$22.06
1794 Half Cent Cohen 4a Variety Nice Example
1794 Half Cent Cohen 4a Variety Nice Example
$330.00
1825 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT NICE  CLEAR FULL DATE
1825 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT NICE CLEAR FULL DATE
$10.76
1805 Philadelphia Mint Copper Draped Bust Half Cent Free Shipping
1805 Philadelphia Mint Copper Draped Bust Half Cent Free Shipping
$22.53
1825 Half Cent Classic Head  Free Shipping
1825 Half Cent Classic Head Free Shipping
$40.01
1828 Half Cent Classic Head Beautiful Choice BU++ Copper Coin  Free S H
1828 Half Cent Classic Head Beautiful Choice BU++ Copper Coin Free S H
$155.51
1853 UNITED STATES BRAIDED HAIR HALF CENT  Fine
1853 UNITED STATES BRAIDED HAIR HALF CENT Fine
$20.00
1826 Classic Head Half Cent  Circulated US Coin
1826 Classic Head Half Cent Circulated US Coin
$20.50
1804 Draped Bust Half Cent Plain 4 Stems
1804 Draped Bust Half Cent Plain 4 Stems
$71.00
1809 Classic Head Half Cent
1809 Classic Head Half Cent
$5.51
1803 Draped Bust Half Cent You Grade
1803 Draped Bust Half Cent You Grade
$27.63
1828 Classic Head Half Cent You Grade
1828 Classic Head Half Cent You Grade
$38.00
1832 Classic Head Half Cent You Grade
1832 Classic Head Half Cent You Grade
$47.09
1855 HALF CENT
1855 HALF CENT
$18.00
1829 Classic Head Half Cent No Reserve
1829 Classic Head Half Cent No Reserve
$33.00
1833 Scarce Classic Head Half Cent Very Fine Details
1833 Scarce Classic Head Half Cent Very Fine Details
$13.50
1851 US Half Cent Rare Date Hard To Find
1851 US Half Cent Rare Date Hard To Find
$39.95
1809 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT rev sm dig VERY GOOD 364597 he
1809 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT rev sm dig VERY GOOD 364597 he
$16.79
1804 HALF CENT 1 2C ANACS VF25 DETAILS
1804 HALF CENT 1 2C ANACS VF25 DETAILS
$76.00
1807 Philadelphia Mint Copper Draped Bust Half Cent Free Shipping
1807 Philadelphia Mint Copper Draped Bust Half Cent Free Shipping
$15.07
1853 Half Cent Braided Hair  Free Shipping
1853 Half Cent Braided Hair Free Shipping
$33.00
1828 HALF CENT CLASSIC HEAD HOLE FILLER BENT
1828 HALF CENT CLASSIC HEAD HOLE FILLER BENT
$14.50
1797 1 2C Half Cent Liberty Cap Beautiful VF Very Fine ++
1797 1 2C Half Cent Liberty Cap Beautiful VF Very Fine ++
$493.00
1828 Half Cent
1828 Half Cent
$20.55
1807 1 2C Half Cent Draped Bust AU About UNC Strong Details
1807 1 2C Half Cent Draped Bust AU About UNC Strong Details
$34.00
1828 13 Stars CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT obv lt old scratch EF 348664 IE
1828 13 Stars CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT obv lt old scratch EF 348664 IE
$21.59
1832 Half Cent AWSOME Details  CONDITION KEY DATE RARE BRIGHT CLASSIC HEAD NR
1832 Half Cent AWSOME Details CONDITION KEY DATE RARE BRIGHT CLASSIC HEAD NR
$26.00
1804 Half Cent plain 4 with stems scarce
1804 Half Cent plain 4 with stems scarce
$31.00
1793 Half Cent old electrotype great quality
1793 Half Cent old electrotype great quality
$100.00

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




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