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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.

1835 Half Cent NGC XF 40 BN NO RESERVE AUCTION
1835 Half Cent NGC XF 40 BN NO RESERVE AUCTION
$73.09
1826 Half Cent Penny Classic Head Variety 1809 to 1836 Coin 1 2c Pre Civil War
1826 Half Cent Penny Classic Head Variety 1809 to 1836 Coin 1 2c Pre Civil War
$31.00
1806 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT HOLED
1806 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT HOLED
$22.00
1797 Liberty Cap Half Cent Penny NICE Condition 1 Overdate Error 16SU 4
1797 Liberty Cap Half Cent Penny NICE Condition 1 Overdate Error 16SU 4
$158.00
1803 Draped Bust Half Cent Penny Circulated Condition 17SU 4
1803 Draped Bust Half Cent Penny Circulated Condition 17SU 4
$38.80
1804 Draped Bust Half Cent Penny Circulated Condition 18SU 4
1804 Draped Bust Half Cent Penny Circulated Condition 18SU 4
$36.80
1806 Draped Bust Half Cent Penny NICE Circulated Condition 19SU 4
1806 Draped Bust Half Cent Penny NICE Circulated Condition 19SU 4
$21.50
1810 Classic Head Half Cent Penny Very to Extra Fine Condition NICE 21SU 4
1810 Classic Head Half Cent Penny Very to Extra Fine Condition NICE 21SU 4
$66.30
1829 Classic Head Half Cent Penny Circulated Condition 22SU 4
1829 Classic Head Half Cent Penny Circulated Condition 22SU 4
$9.51
1853 Braided Hair Half Cent Penny AU+ Condition 23SU 4
1853 Braided Hair Half Cent Penny AU+ Condition 23SU 4
$56.51
1804 Spiked Chin Draped Bust Half Cent PCGS VF30
1804 Spiked Chin Draped Bust Half Cent PCGS VF30
$179.50
1803 1 2c Draped Bust Half Cent Chocolate Brown Holed VL2167
1803 1 2c Draped Bust Half Cent Chocolate Brown Holed VL2167
$30.00
1808 Draped Bust Half Cent Original Look Middle Grade 1 2C Penny Scarce Type
1808 Draped Bust Half Cent Original Look Middle Grade 1 2C Penny Scarce Type
$104.50
Half cent penny 1804 plain 4 higher grade
Half cent penny 1804 plain 4 higher grade
$39.80
1797 Liberty Cap Half Cent Low Grade Filler
1797 Liberty Cap Half Cent Low Grade Filler
$34.00
1804 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT CROSSLET 4 STEMS VERY FINE RARE
1804 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT CROSSLET 4 STEMS VERY FINE RARE
$83.00
261c 1826 Copper Half Cent beauty
261c 1826 Copper Half Cent beauty
$20.59
1835 Classic Head Half Cent Better Date Early American Copper Type Coin VF
1835 Classic Head Half Cent Better Date Early American Copper Type Coin VF
$36.50
1835 Classic Head Half Cent XF
1835 Classic Head Half Cent XF
$48.05
1825 Half Cent Readable LIBERTY Few Hair and Leaf Details Show
1825 Half Cent Readable LIBERTY Few Hair and Leaf Details Show
$21.00
NGC 1804 Plain 4 No Stems VF Details Half Cent Coin Improperly Cleaned  E
NGC 1804 Plain 4 No Stems VF Details Half Cent Coin Improperly Cleaned E
$57.95
1807 1 2C Draped Bust Half Cent PCGS Good Details Damage No Reserve
1807 1 2C Draped Bust Half Cent PCGS Good Details Damage No Reserve
$35.00
1810 1 2C Classic Head Half Cent C 1 NGC Very Good Details Env Damage No Reserve
1810 1 2C Classic Head Half Cent C 1 NGC Very Good Details Env Damage No Reserve
$20.50
1834 1 2C Classic Head Half Cent C 1 NGC Very Good Details Bent No Reserve
1834 1 2C Classic Head Half Cent C 1 NGC Very Good Details Bent No Reserve
$27.20
1809 Classic Head Half Cent
1809 Classic Head Half Cent
$50.95
1807 Philadelphia Mint Copper Draped Bust Half Cent Free Shipping
1807 Philadelphia Mint Copper Draped Bust Half Cent Free Shipping
$19.00
1835 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping
1835 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping
$27.50
1832 HALF CENT GORGEOUS
1832 HALF CENT GORGEOUS
$145.50
1828 HALF CENT GORGEOUS
1828 HALF CENT GORGEOUS
$84.00
1861 Half Cent  Superb Detail Die Breaks  Nova Scotia Canada
1861 Half Cent Superb Detail Die Breaks Nova Scotia Canada
$15.26

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




1835 Half Cent NGC XF 40 BN NO RESERVE AUCTION,  1826 Half Cent Penny Classic Head Variety 1809 to 1836 Coin 1 2c Pre Civil War,  1806 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT HOLED,  1797 Liberty Cap Half Cent Penny NICE Condition 1 Overdate Error 16SU 4,  1803 Draped Bust Half Cent Penny Circulated Condition 17SU 4,  1804 Draped Bust Half Cent Penny Circulated Condition 18SU 4,  1806 Draped Bust Half Cent Penny NICE Circulated Condition 19SU 4,  1810 Classic Head Half Cent Penny Very to Extra Fine Condition NICE 21SU 4,  1829 Classic Head Half Cent Penny Circulated Condition 22SU 4,  1853 Braided Hair Half Cent Penny AU+ Condition 23SU 4,  1804 Spiked Chin Draped Bust Half Cent PCGS VF30,  1803 1 2c Draped Bust Half Cent Chocolate Brown Holed VL2167,  1808 Draped Bust Half Cent Original Look Middle Grade 1 2C Penny Scarce Type,  Half cent penny 1804 plain 4 higher grade,  1797 Liberty Cap Half Cent Low Grade Filler,  1804 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT CROSSLET 4 STEMS VERY FINE RARE,  261c 1826 Copper Half Cent beauty,  1835 Classic Head Half Cent Better Date Early American Copper Type Coin VF,  1835 Classic Head Half Cent XF,  1825 Half Cent Readable LIBERTY Few Hair and Leaf Details Show,  NGC 1804 Plain 4 No Stems VF Details Half Cent Coin Improperly Cleaned E,  1807 1 2C Draped Bust Half Cent PCGS Good Details Damage No Reserve,  1810 1 2C Classic Head Half Cent C 1 NGC Very Good Details Env Damage No Reserve,  1834 1 2C Classic Head Half Cent C 1 NGC Very Good Details Bent No Reserve,  1809 Classic Head Half Cent,  1807 Philadelphia Mint Copper Draped Bust Half Cent Free Shipping,  1835 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping,  1832 HALF CENT GORGEOUS,  1828 HALF CENT GORGEOUS,  1861 Half Cent Superb Detail Die Breaks Nova Scotia Canada,  

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