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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.

1834 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT HIGH GRADE NO RESERVE
1834 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT HIGH GRADE NO RESERVE
$70.00
1835 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT HIGH GRADE NO RESERVE
1835 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT HIGH GRADE NO RESERVE
$42.00
1853 BRAIDED HAIR HALF CENT HIGH GRADE NO RESERVE
1853 BRAIDED HAIR HALF CENT HIGH GRADE NO RESERVE
$85.00
1807 C 1 MDS Draped Bust Half Cent Coin 1 2c
1807 C 1 MDS Draped Bust Half Cent Coin 1 2c
$68.00
1805 Draped Bust Half Cent
1805 Draped Bust Half Cent
$8.88
1804 RARE CROSSLET 4 NO STEMS HALF CENT MORE AUCTIONS COMING
1804 RARE CROSSLET 4 NO STEMS HALF CENT MORE AUCTIONS COMING
$65.00
VERY NICE 1829 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT ESTATE FRESH
VERY NICE 1829 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT ESTATE FRESH
$29.00
1803 US Half Cent  Draped Bust  Well Circulated  No Reserve
1803 US Half Cent Draped Bust Well Circulated No Reserve
$24.50
1835 Philadelphia Mint Copper Braided Hair Half Cent Free Shipping
1835 Philadelphia Mint Copper Braided Hair Half Cent Free Shipping
$33.10
1826 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT EXTRA FINE XF 1 2C COIN
1826 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT EXTRA FINE XF 1 2C COIN
$30.00
1806 Draped Bust Half Cent Coin 1 2c
1806 Draped Bust Half Cent Coin 1 2c
$26.17
1828 1 2C BN Classic Head Half Cent ABOUT UNCIRCULATED
1828 1 2C BN Classic Head Half Cent ABOUT UNCIRCULATED
$70.00
Double Error 1 of 1  1806 Draped Bust half cent wow RPD repunched date rotated
Double Error 1 of 1 1806 Draped Bust half cent wow RPD repunched date rotated
$138.56
1806 Half Cent Draped Bust Small 6 Scarce Copper Survivor  Free Shipping
1806 Half Cent Draped Bust Small 6 Scarce Copper Survivor Free Shipping
$21.00
15 US COPPER AND NICKEL TYPE COIN LOT With 1811 HALF CENT and 1871 1 cent
15 US COPPER AND NICKEL TYPE COIN LOT With 1811 HALF CENT and 1871 1 cent
$274.00
1808 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT FULL DATE LIBERTY SOME LIGHT CORROSION
1808 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT FULL DATE LIBERTY SOME LIGHT CORROSION
$16.75
1807 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT FULL LIBERTY  DATE TWO OR THREE DENTS
1807 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT FULL LIBERTY DATE TWO OR THREE DENTS
$34.00
1826 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping
1826 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping
$42.89
Nice 1833 Classic Head Half Cent
Nice 1833 Classic Head Half Cent
$6.50
1804 Half Cent Draped Bust Plain 4 Stemless Scarce Copper  Free Shipping
1804 Half Cent Draped Bust Plain 4 Stemless Scarce Copper Free Shipping
$32.00
1795 Half Cent Flowing Hair Liberty Cap Seldom Seen Early Copper Survivor
1795 Half Cent Flowing Hair Liberty Cap Seldom Seen Early Copper Survivor
$260.00
1835 Half Cent Classic Head 1 2 Cent VF
1835 Half Cent Classic Head 1 2 Cent VF
$17.50
T361 1807 US DRAPED BUST HALF CENT COIN NR
T361 1807 US DRAPED BUST HALF CENT COIN NR
$54.30
T362 1833 US CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT COIN NR
T362 1833 US CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT COIN NR
$30.92
1809 Classic Head Half Cent VG F
1809 Classic Head Half Cent VG F
$12.50
1835 Classic Head half cent XF
1835 Classic Head half cent XF
$7.90
1803 HALF CENT NO RESERVE AUCTION 6173
1803 HALF CENT NO RESERVE AUCTION 6173
$29.00
1851 Philadelphia Mint Copper Braided Hair Half Cent Free Shipping
1851 Philadelphia Mint Copper Braided Hair Half Cent Free Shipping
$18.00
1832 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping
1832 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping
$46.00
1835 Half Cent Classic Head Tough Early Copper Date  Free Shipping
1835 Half Cent Classic Head Tough Early Copper Date Free Shipping
$34.01

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




1834 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT HIGH GRADE NO RESERVE,  1835 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT HIGH GRADE NO RESERVE,  1853 BRAIDED HAIR HALF CENT HIGH GRADE NO RESERVE,  1807 C 1 MDS Draped Bust Half Cent Coin 1 2c,  1805 Draped Bust Half Cent,  1804 RARE CROSSLET 4 NO STEMS HALF CENT MORE AUCTIONS COMING,  VERY NICE 1829 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT ESTATE FRESH,  1803 US Half Cent Draped Bust Well Circulated No Reserve,  1835 Philadelphia Mint Copper Braided Hair Half Cent Free Shipping,  1826 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT EXTRA FINE XF 1 2C COIN,  1806 Draped Bust Half Cent Coin 1 2c,  1828 1 2C BN Classic Head Half Cent ABOUT UNCIRCULATED,  1829 Half Cent Classic Head Tough AU Early Copper Free Shipping,  Double Error 1 of 1 1806 Draped Bust half cent wow RPD repunched date rotated,  1806 Half Cent Draped Bust Small 6 Scarce Copper Survivor Free Shipping,  15 US COPPER AND NICKEL TYPE COIN LOT With 1811 HALF CENT and 1871 1 cent,  1808 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT FULL DATE LIBERTY SOME LIGHT CORROSION,  1807 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT FULL LIBERTY DATE TWO OR THREE DENTS,  1826 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping,  Nice 1833 Classic Head Half Cent,  1804 Half Cent Draped Bust Plain 4 Stemless Scarce Copper Free Shipping,  1835 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT AU+,  1795 Half Cent Flowing Hair Liberty Cap Seldom Seen Early Copper Survivor,  1835 Half Cent Classic Head 1 2 Cent VF,  T361 1807 US DRAPED BUST HALF CENT COIN NR,  T362 1833 US CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT COIN NR,  1809 Classic Head Half Cent VG F,  1835 Classic Head half cent XF,  1828 1 2 HALF CENT 12 STARS VG FULL LIBERTY TYPE COIN FREE SHIPPING,  1803 HALF CENT NO RESERVE AUCTION 6173,  

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