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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.

1807 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT GOOD DETAILS
1807 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT GOOD DETAILS
$18.50
1809 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT GOOD DETAILS
1809 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT GOOD DETAILS
$14.50
1853 BRAIDED HAIR HALF CENT EXTREMELY FINE DETAILS RIM DAMAGE
1853 BRAIDED HAIR HALF CENT EXTREMELY FINE DETAILS RIM DAMAGE
$35.00
1804 Draped Bust Half Cent Vintage US Copper Coin NY12
1804 Draped Bust Half Cent Vintage US Copper Coin NY12
$14.70
1794 HALF CENT NORMAL HEAD C4A VERY GOOD DETAILS ED
1794 HALF CENT NORMAL HEAD C4A VERY GOOD DETAILS ED
$175.12
1804 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT  SPIKED CHIN VF
1804 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT SPIKED CHIN VF
$102.50
1809 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT REVERSE ROTATED 1ST YR OF SERIES 207 YRS OLD
1809 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT REVERSE ROTATED 1ST YR OF SERIES 207 YRS OLD
$7.00
1806 1 2C NGC G 4 BN 1806 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT 1 2c
1806 1 2C NGC G 4 BN 1806 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT 1 2c
$41.05
1851 Braided Hair Half Cent
1851 Braided Hair Half Cent
$23.50
NO RESERVE UNITED STATES 1809 CLASSIC HEAD 1 2 HALF CENT COIN FREE SHIPPING
NO RESERVE UNITED STATES 1809 CLASSIC HEAD 1 2 HALF CENT COIN FREE SHIPPING
$12.50
1800s United States Half Cent Holed brown nice detail
1800s United States Half Cent Holed brown nice detail
$8.50
GENUINE 1804 US HALF CENT PENNY COIN CLEANED
GENUINE 1804 US HALF CENT PENNY COIN CLEANED
$24.36
+5235 OLD PAWN 1835 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT 1 2C NGC VF 20 BN
+5235 OLD PAWN 1835 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT 1 2C NGC VF 20 BN
$28.76
1828 Half Cent 13 Stars PCGS AU55
1828 Half Cent 13 Stars PCGS AU55
$119.50
1804 Draped Bust Half Cent Very Good Details
1804 Draped Bust Half Cent Very Good Details
$20.50
1787 MASSACHUSETTS HALF CENT
1787 MASSACHUSETTS HALF CENT
$71.16
1833 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT ANACS VERY FINE 20 ATTRACTIVE ORIGINAL BEAUTY
1833 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT ANACS VERY FINE 20 ATTRACTIVE ORIGINAL BEAUTY
$36.36
1804 Half Cent Draped Bust  Free Shipping
1804 Half Cent Draped Bust Free Shipping
$51.05
1852 Philadelphia Mint Copper Braided Hair Half Cent Free Shipping
1852 Philadelphia Mint Copper Braided Hair Half Cent Free Shipping
$62.00
Nice 1828 Classic Head Half Cent
Nice 1828 Classic Head Half Cent
$70.02
Great Half Cent and Large Cent Lot of 5 Coins 1809 thru 1857
Great Half Cent and Large Cent Lot of 5 Coins 1809 thru 1857
$60.11
1826 Braided Hair Half Cent Very Nice Condition
1826 Braided Hair Half Cent Very Nice Condition
$92.00
1806 Draped Bust Half Cent High Grade
1806 Draped Bust Half Cent High Grade
$73.00
1828 Classic Head Half Cent Low Mintage
1828 Classic Head Half Cent Low Mintage
$12.00
1804 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT 1 2C CROSSLET 4 STEMS UNITED STATES
1804 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT 1 2C CROSSLET 4 STEMS UNITED STATES
$34.00
1804 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT SPIKED CHIN NGC VF 25 BN
1804 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT SPIKED CHIN NGC VF 25 BN
$80.05
1833 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT NGC AU DETAILS
1833 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT NGC AU DETAILS
$39.00
1851 BRAIDED HAIR HALF CENT NGC VF DETAILS
1851 BRAIDED HAIR HALF CENT NGC VF DETAILS
$19.50
1835 Half Cent Classic Head Tough Choice AU++ Unc Early Copper  Free S H
1835 Half Cent Classic Head Tough Choice AU++ Unc Early Copper Free S H
$34.00
1829 Classic Head Half Cent F VF Detail
1829 Classic Head Half Cent F VF Detail
$23.50

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




1807 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT GOOD DETAILS,  1809 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT GOOD DETAILS,  1853 BRAIDED HAIR HALF CENT EXTREMELY FINE DETAILS RIM DAMAGE,  1804 Draped Bust Half Cent Vintage US Copper Coin NY12,  1794 HALF CENT NORMAL HEAD C4A VERY GOOD DETAILS ED,  1804 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT SPIKED CHIN VF,  1809 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT REVERSE ROTATED 1ST YR OF SERIES 207 YRS OLD,  1806 1 2C NGC G 4 BN 1806 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT 1 2c,  1851 Braided Hair Half Cent,  NO RESERVE UNITED STATES 1809 CLASSIC HEAD 1 2 HALF CENT COIN FREE SHIPPING,  1800s United States Half Cent Holed brown nice detail,  GENUINE 1804 US HALF CENT PENNY COIN CLEANED,  +5235 OLD PAWN 1835 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT 1 2C NGC VF 20 BN,  1828 Half Cent 13 Stars PCGS AU55,  1804 Draped Bust Half Cent Very Good Details,  1787 MASSACHUSETTS HALF CENT,  1833 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT ANACS VERY FINE 20 ATTRACTIVE ORIGINAL BEAUTY,  1804 Half Cent Draped Bust Free Shipping,  1852 Philadelphia Mint Copper Braided Hair Half Cent Free Shipping,  Nice 1828 Classic Head Half Cent,  Great Half Cent and Large Cent Lot of 5 Coins 1809 thru 1857,  1809 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT VARIETY 9 OVER INVERTED 9 SOLID FEATURES,  1826 Braided Hair Half Cent Very Nice Condition,  1806 Draped Bust Half Cent High Grade,  1828 Classic Head Half Cent Low Mintage,  1804 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT 1 2C CROSSLET 4 STEMS UNITED STATES,  1804 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT SPIKED CHIN NGC VF 25 BN,  1833 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT NGC AU DETAILS,  1853 BRAIDED HAIR HALF CENT C 1 NGC VF DETAILS,  1851 BRAIDED HAIR HALF CENT NGC VF DETAILS,  

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