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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.

1826 Classic Head Half Cent Cohen 2
1826 Classic Head Half Cent Cohen 2
$43.00
1810 1 2C BN Classic Head Half Cent great shape xf 45
1810 1 2C BN Classic Head Half Cent great shape xf 45
$78.00
1853 BRAIDED HAIR Half Cent HIGH AU GREAT ORIGINAL COIN
1853 BRAIDED HAIR Half Cent HIGH AU GREAT ORIGINAL COIN
$87.00
1853 Philadelphia Mint Copper Braided Hair Half Cent Free Shipping
1853 Philadelphia Mint Copper Braided Hair Half Cent Free Shipping
$78.00
1826 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent 13 stars Free Shipping
1826 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent 13 stars Free Shipping
$18.50
1828 Half Cent Classic Head  Free Shipping
1828 Half Cent Classic Head Free Shipping
$22.50
1835 Half Cent Classic Head Nice Sharp Strike Choice BU++ Copper
1835 Half Cent Classic Head Nice Sharp Strike Choice BU++ Copper
$71.00
1811 Classic Head Half Cent Detail
1811 Classic Head Half Cent Detail
$34.99
1853 Braided Hair Half Cent
1853 Braided Hair Half Cent
$16.50
1804 HALF CENT VG DETAIL
1804 HALF CENT VG DETAIL
$12.00
1828 HALF CENT VF DETAIL
1828 HALF CENT VF DETAIL
$21.53
1833 HALF CENT GOOD DETAIL
1833 HALF CENT GOOD DETAIL
$16.79
1804 Half Cent Great Details Beautiful Coin
1804 Half Cent Great Details Beautiful Coin
$17.50
Noblespirit NO RESERVE SS 1808 Draped Bust Half Cent Struck Good or BETTER
Noblespirit NO RESERVE SS 1808 Draped Bust Half Cent Struck Good or BETTER
$7.50
1804 Draped Bust Half Cent Spiked Chin Variety
1804 Draped Bust Half Cent Spiked Chin Variety
$38.00
1835 Classic Head Half Cent XF  Circulated US Coin
1835 Classic Head Half Cent XF Circulated US Coin
$50.99
1826 HIGHLY SOUGHT HALF CENT
1826 HIGHLY SOUGHT HALF CENT
$57.01
1808 Half Cent Nice Graded Coin Starts 1 NR
1808 Half Cent Nice Graded Coin Starts 1 NR
$22.50
1806 DRAPED BUST HALF CENTwith same day low combined shipping
1806 DRAPED BUST HALF CENTwith same day low combined shipping
$7.60
1807 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT ONLY 476000 WERE MINTED 210 YEARS OLD
1807 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT ONLY 476000 WERE MINTED 210 YEARS OLD
$13.50
1856 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping
1856 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping
$14.50
1853 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping
1853 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping
$11.50
1851 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping
1851 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping
$5.54
1850 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping
1850 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping
$44.00
1829 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent 13 stars Free Shipping
1829 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent 13 stars Free Shipping
$11.50
1828 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent 13 stars Free Shipping
1828 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent 13 stars Free Shipping
$61.00
1800 Half Cent Draped Bust Scarce Early Copper
1800 Half Cent Draped Bust Scarce Early Copper
$16.50
1829 Half Cent Classic Head Beautiful Choice AU++ Early Copper Type
1829 Half Cent Classic Head Beautiful Choice AU++ Early Copper Type
$117.50
1809 Half Cent
1809 Half Cent
$33.35
1853 Braided Hair Half Cent USA
1853 Braided Hair Half Cent USA
$43.00

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




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