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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.

1837 Half Cent Hard Times Token Very Rare Date
1837 Half Cent Hard Times Token Very Rare Date
$104.50
1835 1 2C BN Classic Head Half Cent
1835 1 2C BN Classic Head Half Cent
$40.00
1811 Classic Head Half Cent with full date and Liberty
1811 Classic Head Half Cent with full date and Liberty
$113.50
1850 Half Cent nice original chocolate brown VF FREE US SHIP
1850 Half Cent nice original chocolate brown VF FREE US SHIP
$190.50
1808 HALF CENT
1808 HALF CENT
$14.50
1826 Classic Head Half Cent Very Choice AU+++ Uncirculated Nice  US Coin
1826 Classic Head Half Cent Very Choice AU+++ Uncirculated Nice US Coin
$102.50
1807 Draped Bust Half Cent VF++ Problem Free 100 Orig Die rotation
1807 Draped Bust Half Cent VF++ Problem Free 100 Orig Die rotation
$53.00
1809 Classic Head Half Cent XF Problem Free 100 Orig Major Die rotation
1809 Classic Head Half Cent XF Problem Free 100 Orig Major Die rotation
$100.00
1804 Draped Bust Half Cent Crosslet 4 Stems High Grade Best Buy
1804 Draped Bust Half Cent Crosslet 4 Stems High Grade Best Buy
$60.99
1809 US Classic Head Half Cent
1809 US Classic Head Half Cent
$56.00
1835 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT REVERSE ROTATED 30 45 DEGREES 182 YEARS OLD
1835 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT REVERSE ROTATED 30 45 DEGREES 182 YEARS OLD
$13.50
1834 1 2c Classic Head Half Cent UNSLABBED
1834 1 2c Classic Head Half Cent UNSLABBED
$40.00
1835 Classic Head Half Cent Beautiful High Grade Coin Rare Date
1835 Classic Head Half Cent Beautiful High Grade Coin Rare Date
$17.50
1803 Half Cent Draped Bust Tougher Early Copper Date
1803 Half Cent Draped Bust Tougher Early Copper Date
$87.00
US Mint Liberty Cap Half Cent 1793 1797 Issue No Visible Date
US Mint Liberty Cap Half Cent 1793 1797 Issue No Visible Date
$41.00
1804 Half Cent C 13 Plain 4 No Stems NGC XF
1804 Half Cent C 13 Plain 4 No Stems NGC XF
$44.00
1833 Half Cent Classic Head Nice Coin AU Early Copper
1833 Half Cent Classic Head Nice Coin AU Early Copper
$54.00
1809 Half Cent PCGS Genuine XF Details Env Damage
1809 Half Cent PCGS Genuine XF Details Env Damage
$44.89
1794 Half Cent PCGS Genuine VF Details Env Damage
1794 Half Cent PCGS Genuine VF Details Env Damage
$497.00
1804 Half Cent Crosslet 4 Stems PCGS Genuine VF Details Cleaning
1804 Half Cent Crosslet 4 Stems PCGS Genuine VF Details Cleaning
$61.00
1828 Half Cent Classic Head 13 Stars Sharp Strike Choice Uncirculated++ BU
1828 Half Cent Classic Head 13 Stars Sharp Strike Choice Uncirculated++ BU
$42.00
1835 1 2C HALF CENT PCGS AU55
1835 1 2C HALF CENT PCGS AU55
$43.00
1851 Braided Hair Half Cent
1851 Braided Hair Half Cent
$11.50
1804 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT PCGS VF20 SPIKED CHIN
1804 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT PCGS VF20 SPIKED CHIN
$76.23
1808 1 2c Draped Bust Half Cent
1808 1 2c Draped Bust Half Cent
$22.50
1851 1 2c Liberty Head Braided Hair Half Cent
1851 1 2c Liberty Head Braided Hair Half Cent
$63.55
1806 Draped Bust Half Cent Large 6 Stems F VF detail
1806 Draped Bust Half Cent Large 6 Stems F VF detail
$29.00
1834 Classic Head Half Cent Uncirculated AU HC0802
1834 Classic Head Half Cent Uncirculated AU HC0802
$17.71
1804 stemless Draped Bust Half Cent XF HC804
1804 stemless Draped Bust Half Cent XF HC804
$55.00
1828 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT 13 STARS CHOICE EXTRA FINE EF XF
1828 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT 13 STARS CHOICE EXTRA FINE EF XF
$45.00

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




1837 Half Cent Hard Times Token Very Rare Date,  1835 1 2C BN Classic Head Half Cent,  1811 Classic Head Half Cent with full date and Liberty,  1850 Half Cent nice original chocolate brown VF FREE US SHIP,  1808 HALF CENT,  1826 Classic Head Half Cent Very Choice AU+++ Uncirculated Nice US Coin ,  1807 Draped Bust Half Cent VF++ Problem Free 100 Orig Die rotation,  1809 Classic Head Half Cent XF Problem Free 100 Orig Major Die rotation,  1851 Half Cent,  1804 Draped Bust Half Cent Crosslet 4 Stems High Grade Best Buy,  1804 half cent,  1809 US Classic Head Half Cent,  1829 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT REVERSE ROTATED 30 45 DEGREES 188 YEARS OLD,  1835 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT REVERSE ROTATED 30 45 DEGREES 182 YEARS OLD,  1834 1 2c Classic Head Half Cent UNSLABBED,  1835 Classic Head Half Cent Beautiful High Grade Coin Rare Date,  1803 Half Cent Draped Bust Tougher Early Copper Date,  US Mint Liberty Cap Half Cent 1793 1797 Issue No Visible Date,  1804 Half Cent C 13 Plain 4 No Stems NGC XF,  1833 Half Cent Classic Head Nice Coin AU Early Copper,  1809 Half Cent PCGS Genuine XF Details Env Damage,  1794 Half Cent PCGS Genuine VF Details Env Damage,  1804 Half Cent Crosslet 4 Stems PCGS Genuine VF Details Cleaning,  1809 Half Cent Classic Head,  1828 Half Cent Classic Head 13 Stars Sharp Strike Choice Uncirculated++ BU,  1835 1 2C HALF CENT PCGS AU55,  1851 Braided Hair Half Cent,  1804 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT PCGS VF20 SPIKED CHIN,  1808 1 2c Draped Bust Half Cent,  1851 1 2c Liberty Head Braided Hair Half Cent,  

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