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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 HALF CENT
1803 HALF CENT
$37.01
1828 Half Cent Coin 13 stars deep brown tone F FV estate coin
1828 Half Cent Coin 13 stars deep brown tone F FV estate coin
$23.59
1809 Classic Head Half Cent
1809 Classic Head Half Cent
$36.00
1803 HALF CENT
1803 HALF CENT
$28.15
1850 C 1 Braided Hair Half Cent Coin 1 2c
1850 C 1 Braided Hair Half Cent Coin 1 2c
$207.50
1857 C 1 Braided Hair Half Cent Coin 1 2c
1857 C 1 Braided Hair Half Cent Coin 1 2c
$148.50
1807 Draped Bust Half Cent 1 2c VG Details Very Good H1C
1807 Draped Bust Half Cent 1 2c VG Details Very Good H1C
$22.50
1861 Nova Scotia Half Cent Foreign Coin Free S H
1861 Nova Scotia Half Cent Foreign Coin Free S H
$8.50
1809 6 Half Cent Classic Head Super Scarce BU++ Better Date Mint Error
1809 6 Half Cent Classic Head Super Scarce BU++ Better Date Mint Error
$118.50
1828 Half Cent Classic Head 13 Stars Choice AU Early Copper  Free Shipping
1828 Half Cent Classic Head 13 Stars Choice AU Early Copper Free Shipping
$53.00
1834 1 2C Classic Head Half Cent PCGS VF30 United States
1834 1 2C Classic Head Half Cent PCGS VF30 United States
$54.00
1835 Half Cent Coin 13 stars deep brown tone F FV estate coin classic head
1835 Half Cent Coin 13 stars deep brown tone F FV estate coin classic head
$22.50
1806 Draped Bust Half Cent Small 6 and stemless wreath variety
1806 Draped Bust Half Cent Small 6 and stemless wreath variety
$30.00
1804 Draped BUST Half Cent FINE OLD HALF CENT
1804 Draped BUST Half Cent FINE OLD HALF CENT
$42.00
1804 Half Cent Draped Bust Plain 4 W Stems Scarce Early Date Copper Survivor
1804 Half Cent Draped Bust Plain 4 W Stems Scarce Early Date Copper Survivor
$55.00
1807 Half Cent Draped Bust Scarce Choice VF++ Early Copper  Free Shipping
1807 Half Cent Draped Bust Scarce Choice VF++ Early Copper Free Shipping
$61.50
1856 HALF CENT NGC GRADED AU DETAILS US COIN
1856 HALF CENT NGC GRADED AU DETAILS US COIN
$23.50
1828 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT EXTRA FINE DETAILS
1828 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT EXTRA FINE DETAILS
$24.50
1804 HALF CENT PENNY
1804 HALF CENT PENNY
$31.00
1804 SPIKED CHIN Draped Bust Half Cent Coin Nice Coin You Grade 072001
1804 SPIKED CHIN Draped Bust Half Cent Coin Nice Coin You Grade 072001
$56.00
1804 PLAIN 4 STEMLESS SCARCE EARLY COPPER HALF CENT
1804 PLAIN 4 STEMLESS SCARCE EARLY COPPER HALF CENT
$99.00
1806 SELDOM FOUND HIGH GRADE HALF CENT
1806 SELDOM FOUND HIGH GRADE HALF CENT
$40.00
1809 SCARCE EARLY COPPER GEM BU++ HALF CENT
1809 SCARCE EARLY COPPER GEM BU++ HALF CENT
$70.00
1835  PCGS XF40  CAC  CLASSIC HEAD Half Cent 1 2c  Nice Look Chocolate Brown
1835 PCGS XF40 CAC CLASSIC HEAD Half Cent 1 2c Nice Look Chocolate Brown
$71.75
1807 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT 1 2C
1807 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT 1 2C
$10.50
1851 US Braided Hair Half Cent  Better Grade  A Nice Type For Book
1851 US Braided Hair Half Cent Better Grade A Nice Type For Book
$17.50
1804 Philadelphia Mint Copper Draped Bust Half Cent Free Shipping
1804 Philadelphia Mint Copper Draped Bust Half Cent Free Shipping
$33.00
1853 Braided Hair Half Cent
1853 Braided Hair Half Cent
$10.15
1804 Philadelphia Mint Copper Draped Bust Half Cent Free Shipping
1804 Philadelphia Mint Copper Draped Bust Half Cent Free Shipping
$31.00
1809 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping
1809 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping
$31.00

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




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