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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.

1803 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT
1803 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT
$41.00
1804 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT CROSSLET 4 WITH STEMS VARIETY
1804 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT CROSSLET 4 WITH STEMS VARIETY
$39.80
1828 12 Star Classic Head Half Cent 14 Day Satisfaction Guarantee
1828 12 Star Classic Head Half Cent 14 Day Satisfaction Guarantee
$102.50
1833 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT FULL LIBERTY RARE GREAT CONDITION 731
1833 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT FULL LIBERTY RARE GREAT CONDITION 731
$15.50
1803 Half Cent Draped Bust Very Good VG US Type Coin Original A1
1803 Half Cent Draped Bust Very Good VG US Type Coin Original A1
$36.00
1828 Half Cent 12 Stars Classic Head Extra Fine XF Better Variety Scratches A2
1828 Half Cent 12 Stars Classic Head Extra Fine XF Better Variety Scratches A2
$28.77
1855 Half Cent Braided Hair Extra Fine XF Full Liberty US Type Coin Corroded A3
1855 Half Cent Braided Hair Extra Fine XF Full Liberty US Type Coin Corroded A3
$41.07
1804 Draped Bust Half Cent Free Shipping
1804 Draped Bust Half Cent Free Shipping
$21.62
1736 Colonial US Draped Bust Large Half Cent Penny RARE OLD KEY DATE USA COIN
1736 Colonial US Draped Bust Large Half Cent Penny RARE OLD KEY DATE USA COIN
$56.00
1825 Half Cent Classic Head Super Rare  Free Shipping
1825 Half Cent Classic Head Super Rare Free Shipping
$56.55
1808 Draped Bust Half Cent Coin 1 2c
1808 Draped Bust Half Cent Coin 1 2c
$20.76
1849 Braided Hair Half Cent Liberty Higher Grade Type Coin BZ1
1849 Braided Hair Half Cent Liberty Higher Grade Type Coin BZ1
$29.00
1809 Half Cent NGC AU 58 Very lustrous Reverse rotated 45 degrees
1809 Half Cent NGC AU 58 Very lustrous Reverse rotated 45 degrees
$382.00
1811 Half Cent NGC Fine detail very scarce in higher grades
1811 Half Cent NGC Fine detail very scarce in higher grades
$288.60
1826 Half Cent NGC XF 45
1826 Half Cent NGC XF 45
$94.00
1804 Draped Bust Half Cent Plain 4 No Stems Very Fine
1804 Draped Bust Half Cent Plain 4 No Stems Very Fine
$41.00
1850 Coronet Head Half Cent Rough Edges Decent Coin HAZ
1850 Coronet Head Half Cent Rough Edges Decent Coin HAZ
$37.50
1834 Classic Head Half Cent Counterstamped JW Deep Rich Glossy Planchet
1834 Classic Head Half Cent Counterstamped JW Deep Rich Glossy Planchet
$26.00
1809 1 2C Half cent F 15 Details Corroded looks better than photo NO RESERVE
1809 1 2C Half cent F 15 Details Corroded looks better than photo NO RESERVE
$16.50
1855 BRAIDED HAIR HALF CENT XF
1855 BRAIDED HAIR HALF CENT XF
$68.55
1826 Classic Head HALF Cent very nice  Huge Die Rotation  Extra Fine XF
1826 Classic Head HALF Cent very nice Huge Die Rotation Extra Fine XF
$40.89
1804 Draped Bust Half Cent Free Shipping
1804 Draped Bust Half Cent Free Shipping
$13.50
1834 Classic Head Half Cent VF No Reserve
1834 Classic Head Half Cent VF No Reserve
$48.00
1854 BRAIDED HAIR HALF CENT AU CONDITION OF DEVICES  DETAILS
1854 BRAIDED HAIR HALF CENT AU CONDITION OF DEVICES DETAILS
$22.17
1851 Half Cent No Reserve Auction MJ
1851 Half Cent No Reserve Auction MJ
$124.50
1809 Classic Head Half Cent Reverse Rotation 14 Day Satisfaction Guarantee
1809 Classic Head Half Cent Reverse Rotation 14 Day Satisfaction Guarantee
$36.00
1832 1834 1851 HARD TIMES TOKENS COUNTERSTAMPED ONE CENT AND HALF CENT COINS
1832 1834 1851 HARD TIMES TOKENS COUNTERSTAMPED ONE CENT AND HALF CENT COINS
$26.00
1828 THIRTEEN STARS CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT COIN
1828 THIRTEEN STARS CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT COIN
$8.00
1854 Half Cent Very Fine+
1854 Half Cent Very Fine+
$18.50
1833 Half Cent US Coin Choice XF Condition
1833 Half Cent US Coin Choice XF Condition
$38.00

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




1803 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT,  1804 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT CROSSLET 4 WITH STEMS VARIETY,  1828 12 Star Classic Head Half Cent 14 Day Satisfaction Guarantee,  1833 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT FULL LIBERTY RARE GREAT CONDITION 731,  1803 Half Cent Draped Bust Very Good VG US Type Coin Original A1,  1828 Half Cent 12 Stars Classic Head Extra Fine XF Better Variety Scratches A2,  1855 Half Cent Braided Hair Extra Fine XF Full Liberty US Type Coin Corroded A3,  1804 Draped Bust Half Cent Free Shipping,  1736 Colonial US Draped Bust Large Half Cent Penny RARE OLD KEY DATE USA COIN,  1807 Draped Bust Half Cent Free Shipping,  1825 Half Cent Classic Head Super Rare Free Shipping,  1808 Draped Bust Half Cent Coin 1 2c,  1851 Braided Hair Half Cent NO RESERVE AUCTION FREE SHIPPING,  1849 Braided Hair Half Cent Liberty Higher Grade Type Coin BZ1,  1835 Half Cent LIBERTY and a Few Hair Details Still Show,  1809 Half Cent NGC AU 58 Very lustrous Reverse rotated 45 degrees,  1811 Half Cent NGC Fine detail very scarce in higher grades,  1826 Half Cent NGC XF 45,  1804 Draped Bust Half Cent Plain 4 No Stems Very Fine,  1825 VG Details Repaired Classic Head Half Cent Decent Coin HAZ,  1850 Coronet Head Half Cent Rough Edges Decent Coin HAZ,  1834 Classic Head Half Cent Counterstamped JW Deep Rich Glossy Planchet,  1809 1 2C Half cent F 15 Details Corroded looks better than photo NO RESERVE,  1855 BRAIDED HAIR HALF CENT XF,  1826 Classic Head HALF Cent very nice Huge Die Rotation Extra Fine XF,  1804 Draped Bust Half Cent Free Shipping,  1834 Classic Head Half Cent VF No Reserve,  1854 BRAIDED HAIR HALF CENT AU CONDITION OF DEVICES DETAILS,  1851 Half Cent No Reserve Auction MJ,  1809 Classic Head Half Cent Reverse Rotation 14 Day Satisfaction Guarantee,  

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