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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.

1804 HALF CENT Crosslet 4 Stems
1804 HALF CENT Crosslet 4 Stems
$68.00
1809 Classic Head Half Cent 1 2c YOU GRADE IT F47
1809 Classic Head Half Cent 1 2c YOU GRADE IT F47
$10.05
1832 Philadelphia Half Cent 1 2c US YOU GRADE IT F56
1832 Philadelphia Half Cent 1 2c US YOU GRADE IT F56
$28.29
1807 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT 476000 MINTED 209 YEARS OLD 0032
1807 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT 476000 MINTED 209 YEARS OLD 0032
$15.50
NICE U S ODD TYPE COIN LOT IN CAPITAL HOLDER HALF CENT 20 CENT FREE SHIPPING
NICE U S ODD TYPE COIN LOT IN CAPITAL HOLDER HALF CENT 20 CENT FREE SHIPPING
$110.50
1828 Classic Head Half Cent Copper Coin Good Condition
1828 Classic Head Half Cent Copper Coin Good Condition
$15.52
1828 Classic Head Half Cent Penny Copper Coin Good
1828 Classic Head Half Cent Penny Copper Coin Good
$17.00
1804 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT
1804 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT
$6.50
1804 Draped Bust Half Cent Rotated Reverse  Circulated US Coin
1804 Draped Bust Half Cent Rotated Reverse Circulated US Coin
$28.00
1853 Half Cent Braided Hair Early Copper  Free Shipping
1853 Half Cent Braided Hair Early Copper Free Shipping
$50.03
1832 1 2C RD Classic Head Half Cent
1832 1 2C RD Classic Head Half Cent
$26.00
1809 6 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT 9 OVER INVERTED 9 ICG AU55 RARE
1809 6 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT 9 OVER INVERTED 9 ICG AU55 RARE
$193.50
RARE KEY DATE 1811 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT HIGHER GRADE ANACS VF20 LOW MINTAGE
RARE KEY DATE 1811 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT HIGHER GRADE ANACS VF20 LOW MINTAGE
$255.00
1804 Draped Bust Half Cent Very Fine
1804 Draped Bust Half Cent Very Fine
$89.85
1854 Braided Hair Half Cent Extra Fine
1854 Braided Hair Half Cent Extra Fine
$56.00
1855 Braided Hair Half Cent Vintage US Copper Coin HX53 Very Rare Key Date
1855 Braided Hair Half Cent Vintage US Copper Coin HX53 Very Rare Key Date
$18.60
1807 Philadelphia Mint Copper Draped Bust Half Cent Free Shipping
1807 Philadelphia Mint Copper Draped Bust Half Cent Free Shipping
$16.60
1832 Half Cent Classic Head Scarce Choice AU++ Early Copper  Free Shipping
1832 Half Cent Classic Head Scarce Choice AU++ Early Copper Free Shipping
$51.00
1851 Philadelphia Mint Copper Braided Hair Half Cent Free Shipping
1851 Philadelphia Mint Copper Braided Hair Half Cent Free Shipping
$32.00
1851 Half Cent Braided Hair Nice Choice BU++ Copper  Free Shipping
1851 Half Cent Braided Hair Nice Choice BU++ Copper Free Shipping
$45.00
1835 Half Cent Classic Head Chocolate Brown
1835 Half Cent Classic Head Chocolate Brown
$10.02
1828 Philadelphia Half Cent 1 2c US You Grade It F55
1828 Philadelphia Half Cent 1 2c US You Grade It F55
$12.50
1828 Philadelphia Half Cent 1 2c US YOU GRADE IT F57
1828 Philadelphia Half Cent 1 2c US YOU GRADE IT F57
$13.50
1834 CLASSIC HEAD US HALF CENT 1 2c YOU GRADE IT F65
1834 CLASSIC HEAD US HALF CENT 1 2c YOU GRADE IT F65
$33.53
1829 Classic Head US Half Cent 1 2c YOU GRADE IT F66
1829 Classic Head US Half Cent 1 2c YOU GRADE IT F66
$27.53
1803 Philadelphia Mint Copper Draped Bust Half Cent Free Shipping
1803 Philadelphia Mint Copper Draped Bust Half Cent Free Shipping
$11.01
1851 Philadelphia Mint Copper Braided Hair Half Cent Free Shipping
1851 Philadelphia Mint Copper Braided Hair Half Cent Free Shipping
$33.00
1835 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT ONLY 398000 MINTED 181 YEARS OLD
1835 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT ONLY 398000 MINTED 181 YEARS OLD
$11.50
1833 Half Cent Gem Uncirculated
1833 Half Cent Gem Uncirculated
$64.05
1855 Half Cent Braided Hair Choice AU++ Unc Copper  Free Shipping
1855 Half Cent Braided Hair Choice AU++ Unc Copper Free Shipping
$36.00

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




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