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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 Classic Head Half Cent Coin
1835 Classic Head Half Cent Coin
$28.50
1800 Draped Bust Half Cent Coin
1800 Draped Bust Half Cent Coin
$39.00
1833  UNC Choice Classic Head Half Cent Rare Uncirculated 1 2 Very Sharp Coin
1833 UNC Choice Classic Head Half Cent Rare Uncirculated 1 2 Very Sharp Coin
$201.69
1804  C 8 SPIKED CHIN Draped Bust Half Cent Rare Variety 1 2 Coin
1804 C 8 SPIKED CHIN Draped Bust Half Cent Rare Variety 1 2 Coin
$71.00
1803 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT GOOD
1803 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT GOOD
$22.50
1810 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT ABOUT GOOD
1810 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT ABOUT GOOD
$20.55
1825 Classic Head Half Cent
1825 Classic Head Half Cent
$71.51
1807 C 1 B 1 R1 Draped Bust Half Cent NGC XF 40 BN Hilt Collection
1807 C 1 B 1 R1 Draped Bust Half Cent NGC XF 40 BN Hilt Collection
$233.50
1832 CLASSIC HALF CENT ORIGINAL CONDITION GREAT DETAIL FULL LIBERTY
1832 CLASSIC HALF CENT ORIGINAL CONDITION GREAT DETAIL FULL LIBERTY
$12.56
1829 Half Cent Classic Head  Free Shipping
1829 Half Cent Classic Head Free Shipping
$58.00
1806 Half Cent Draped Bust Scarce Choice XF Early Copped Piece  Free S H
1806 Half Cent Draped Bust Scarce Choice XF Early Copped Piece Free S H
$102.50
Nice US 1835 Classic Head Half Cent
Nice US 1835 Classic Head Half Cent
$15.50
1806 Half Cent in XF
1806 Half Cent in XF
$42.00
1803 or 1805 Half Cent
1803 or 1805 Half Cent
$11.55
1829 Classic Head Half Cent AU cleaned Vintage Better Date 1 2 Penny 021650Y
1829 Classic Head Half Cent AU cleaned Vintage Better Date 1 2 Penny 021650Y
$55.00
1835 Classic Head Half Cent VF 25 PCGS
1835 Classic Head Half Cent VF 25 PCGS
$71.00
1851 1 2c Braided Hair Half Cent
1851 1 2c Braided Hair Half Cent
$52.00
1828 1 2c Classic Head Half Cent PCGS XF40 13 Stars
1828 1 2c Classic Head Half Cent PCGS XF40 13 Stars
$41.00
1835 1 2c Classic Head Half Cent PCGS AU Details
1835 1 2c Classic Head Half Cent PCGS AU Details
$45.00
1807 Half Cent PCGS Genuine VG Details Cohen 1 1 2 Cent RARE
1807 Half Cent PCGS Genuine VG Details Cohen 1 1 2 Cent RARE
$10.50
1800 HALF CENT NCS FINE DETAILS CORRODED COHEN 1 NO RESERVE
1800 HALF CENT NCS FINE DETAILS CORRODED COHEN 1 NO RESERVE
$7.50
1828 Half Cent Classic Head Pleasing Choice BU Copper Piece Free Shipping
1828 Half Cent Classic Head Pleasing Choice BU Copper Piece Free Shipping
$63.00
1826 US CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT 1 2 COIN VERY GOOD CONDITION COLLECTOR
1826 US CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT 1 2 COIN VERY GOOD CONDITION COLLECTOR
$133.00
1828 1 2c Classic Head Half Cent 13 Stars Fine Circulated Coin sku 2179
1828 1 2c Classic Head Half Cent 13 Stars Fine Circulated Coin sku 2179
$17.00
Nice 1835 Classic Head Half Cent
Nice 1835 Classic Head Half Cent
$31.01
1803 Half Cent Draped Bust Tough Early Date Copper Piece  Free Shipping
1803 Half Cent Draped Bust Tough Early Date Copper Piece Free Shipping
$91.00
1835 HALF CENT CHOICE XF DETAILS NO RESERVE 4897
1835 HALF CENT CHOICE XF DETAILS NO RESERVE 4897
$10.50
Circulated 1828 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping
Circulated 1828 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping
$17.50
Circulated 1803 Philadelphia Mint Copper Draped Bust Half Cent Free Shipping
Circulated 1803 Philadelphia Mint Copper Draped Bust Half Cent Free Shipping
$39.88
Circulated 1835 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping
Circulated 1835 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping
$23.50

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




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