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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.

1828 Classic Head Copper US Half Cent Coin 13 Stars Fine+ Detail
1828 Classic Head Copper US Half Cent Coin 13 Stars Fine+ Detail
$28.50
Beautiful 1856 Braided Hair Half Cent H1C You Grade It B8
Beautiful 1856 Braided Hair Half Cent H1C You Grade It B8
$46.00
1806 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT PROBABLY USED AS A LOCKET 208 YEARS OLD
1806 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT PROBABLY USED AS A LOCKET 208 YEARS OLD
$3.95
1805 1 2c Draped Bust Half Cent Stems Large 5
1805 1 2c Draped Bust Half Cent Stems Large 5
$28.10
1804 1 2c Draped Bust Half Cent Stems Crosslet 4
1804 1 2c Draped Bust Half Cent Stems Crosslet 4
$21.05
1851 P Half Cent Braided Hair XF Details Free Shipping No Reserve 01207439z
1851 P Half Cent Braided Hair XF Details Free Shipping No Reserve 01207439z
$20.10
1828 Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping
1828 Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping
$17.49
1834 Classic Head Half Cent
1834 Classic Head Half Cent
$12.59
1835 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT PENNY RARE OLD US TYPE COIN NR
1835 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT PENNY RARE OLD US TYPE COIN NR
$24.01
1828 HALF CENT COIN THIRTEEN 13 STARS CLASSIC HEAD ROTATED DIE
1828 HALF CENT COIN THIRTEEN 13 STARS CLASSIC HEAD ROTATED DIE
$20.50
Early us half cent date hard to see
Early us half cent date hard to see
$10.50
1835 Classic Head Half Cent Very Fine
1835 Classic Head Half Cent Very Fine
$26.00
1825 HALF CENT COIN THIRTEEN 13 STARS CLASSIC HEAD ROTATED DIE
1825 HALF CENT COIN THIRTEEN 13 STARS CLASSIC HEAD ROTATED DIE
$20.10
1829 HALF CENT COIN THIRTEEN 13 STARS CLASSIC HEAD ROTATED DIE GREAT DETAIL
1829 HALF CENT COIN THIRTEEN 13 STARS CLASSIC HEAD ROTATED DIE GREAT DETAIL
$9.38
1803 Draped Bust Half Cent F+ Condition Free Shipping
1803 Draped Bust Half Cent F+ Condition Free Shipping
$26.00
1825 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT ROTATED DIES EF
1825 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT ROTATED DIES EF
$13.50
1804 1 2C Plain 4 No Stems BN Draped Bust Half Cent
1804 1 2C Plain 4 No Stems BN Draped Bust Half Cent
$305.11
1794 LIBERTY CAP HALF CENT ELECTROTYPE
1794 LIBERTY CAP HALF CENT ELECTROTYPE
$48.00
1856 1 2C Half Cent Braided Hair VF
1856 1 2C Half Cent Braided Hair VF
$34.00
1804 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT 210 YEAR OLD COIN VERY GOOD 9596 glcm
1804 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT 210 YEAR OLD COIN VERY GOOD 9596 glcm
$10.50
1832 Classic Half Cent Attractive Original Very Fine
1832 Classic Half Cent Attractive Original Very Fine
$41.00
1800 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT
1800 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT
$11.55
1835 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT VERY NICE EXAMPLE FULL LIBERTY UNIFORM TONE
1835 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT VERY NICE EXAMPLE FULL LIBERTY UNIFORM TONE
$9.00
1804 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT
1804 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT
$6.60
1810 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT
1810 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT
$7.50
1828 Classic Head HALF CENT H1C  NGC XF40 BN  15 Reverse Rotation
1828 Classic Head HALF CENT H1C NGC XF40 BN 15 Reverse Rotation
$36.00
1834 Classic Head HALF CENT H1C  C 1  NGC XF45 BN  Only 141K Mintage
1834 Classic Head HALF CENT H1C C 1 NGC XF45 BN Only 141K Mintage
$52.00
VERY NICE 1834 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT NO RV  FREE US SHIP
VERY NICE 1834 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT NO RV FREE US SHIP
$36.25
VERY NICE 1851 BRAIDED HAIR HALF CENT NO RV  FREE US SHIP
VERY NICE 1851 BRAIDED HAIR HALF CENT NO RV FREE US SHIP
$70.50
USA Collection Eight Flying Eagle Large Two Half Cent Coins Scarce 1830 1865
USA Collection Eight Flying Eagle Large Two Half Cent Coins Scarce 1830 1865
$27.00

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




1828 Classic Head Copper US Half Cent Coin 13 Stars Fine+ Detail,  Beautiful 1856 Braided Hair Half Cent H1C You Grade It B8,  1806 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT PROBABLY USED AS A LOCKET 208 YEARS OLD,  1805 1 2c Draped Bust Half Cent Stems Large 5,  1804 1 2c Draped Bust Half Cent Stems Crosslet 4,  1851 P Half Cent Braided Hair XF Details Free Shipping No Reserve 01207439z,  1828 Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping,  PHILIPPINES HALF CENT 1904,  1834 Classic Head Half Cent,  1835 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT PENNY RARE OLD US TYPE COIN NR,  1828 HALF CENT COIN THIRTEEN 13 STARS CLASSIC HEAD ROTATED DIE,  Early us half cent date hard to see,  1835 Classic Head Half Cent Very Fine,  1825 HALF CENT COIN THIRTEEN 13 STARS CLASSIC HEAD ROTATED DIE,  1829 HALF CENT COIN THIRTEEN 13 STARS CLASSIC HEAD ROTATED DIE GREAT DETAIL,  1803 Draped Bust Half Cent F+ Condition Free Shipping,  1825 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT ROTATED DIES EF,  1804 1 2C Plain 4 No Stems BN Draped Bust Half Cent,  1794 LIBERTY CAP HALF CENT ELECTROTYPE,  1856 1 2C Half Cent Braided Hair VF,  1835 Half Cent Nice High Grade Coin,  1804 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT 210 YEAR OLD COIN VERY GOOD 9596 glcm,  1832 Classic Half Cent Attractive Original Very Fine,  1800 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT,  1835 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT VERY NICE EXAMPLE FULL LIBERTY UNIFORM TONE,  1804 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT,  1810 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT,  1828 Classic Head HALF CENT H1C NGC XF40 BN 15 Reverse Rotation,  1834 Classic Head HALF CENT H1C C 1 NGC XF45 BN Only 141K Mintage,  VERY NICE 1834 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT NO RV FREE US SHIP,  

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