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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.

1804 DAMAGED DRAPED BUST COPPER HALF CENT US COIN 99c NO RESERVE
1804 DAMAGED DRAPED BUST COPPER HALF CENT US COIN 99c NO RESERVE
$21.71
1835 HOLED CLASSIC HEAD COPPER HALF CENT US COIN 99c NO RESERVE
1835 HOLED CLASSIC HEAD COPPER HALF CENT US COIN 99c NO RESERVE
$13.00
1853 HOLED BRAIDED HAIR COPPER HALF CENT US COIN 99c NO RESERVE
1853 HOLED BRAIDED HAIR COPPER HALF CENT US COIN 99c NO RESERVE
$33.00
1804 Draped Bust Half Cent Copper Coin
1804 Draped Bust Half Cent Copper Coin
$18.00
1804 1 2C C 6 Spiked Chin BN Draped Bust Half Cent B 6 BW 4 Half Cent Cuds
1804 1 2C C 6 Spiked Chin BN Draped Bust Half Cent B 6 BW 4 Half Cent Cuds
$51.88
1932 Half Cent PCGS XF40 Classic Head Double Die Reverse Error DDR 1 2c Coin
1932 Half Cent PCGS XF40 Classic Head Double Die Reverse Error DDR 1 2c Coin
$81.89
1804 Draped Bust Half Cent
1804 Draped Bust Half Cent
$14.90
1826 Half Cent Classic Head
1826 Half Cent Classic Head
$26.35
1828 Half Cent 12 Star Classic Head
1828 Half Cent 12 Star Classic Head
$23.85
1834 Half Cent Beautiful Classic Head
1834 Half Cent Beautiful Classic Head
$36.10
1851 Braided Hair Half Cent AU+ Free Shipping After First Item
1851 Braided Hair Half Cent AU+ Free Shipping After First Item
$62.09
Nice 1806 Draped Bust Half Cent VF Blue Toned Old US Coin Early American Copper
Nice 1806 Draped Bust Half Cent VF Blue Toned Old US Coin Early American Copper
$73.09
1811 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT GOOD RARE
1811 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT GOOD RARE
$103.50
1807 Draped Bust Half Cent C 1 NGC AG3 BN NR
1807 Draped Bust Half Cent C 1 NGC AG3 BN NR
$17.72
1809 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping
1809 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping
$11.50
1803 half cent Draped Bust Rare Key Date Early Copper very good only 92k minted
1803 half cent Draped Bust Rare Key Date Early Copper very good only 92k minted
$37.88
1803 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT 1 2c T1
1803 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT 1 2c T1
$17.50
1851 Braided Hair Half Cent
1851 Braided Hair Half Cent
$31.02
1828 NGC 1 2C Half Cent Coin 12 Stars VF Details
1828 NGC 1 2C Half Cent Coin 12 Stars VF Details
$31.00
1853 Braided Hair Half Cent VF 35 PCGS Gold Shield Holder
1853 Braided Hair Half Cent VF 35 PCGS Gold Shield Holder
$63.00
1803 Draped Bust Half Cent C 4 ANACS G6 Det NR
1803 Draped Bust Half Cent C 4 ANACS G6 Det NR
$13.50
1834 Classic Head Half Cent Variety C 1 NGC VG 8 BN NR
1834 Classic Head Half Cent Variety C 1 NGC VG 8 BN NR
$23.00
1832 Classic Head Half Cent ANACS XF40 Details NR
1832 Classic Head Half Cent ANACS XF40 Details NR
$17.00
1834 Half Cent BU
1834 Half Cent BU
$59.00
1803 1 2C NGC G 4 BN 1803 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT 1 2c
1803 1 2C NGC G 4 BN 1803 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT 1 2c
$31.00
1854 Half Cent Braided Hair Choice BU Early Copper  Free Shipping
1854 Half Cent Braided Hair Choice BU Early Copper Free Shipping
$41.00
1854 Braided Hair Half Cent
1854 Braided Hair Half Cent
$13.50
1809 Classic Head Half Cent XF  Circulated US Coin
1809 Classic Head Half Cent XF Circulated US Coin
$66.00
1802 0 1 2c Draped Bust Half Cent ANACS AG03 Reverse of 1802
1802 0 1 2c Draped Bust Half Cent ANACS AG03 Reverse of 1802
$78.77
1797 Half Cent Flowing Hair Liberty Cap LOW Head Seldom Seen Better Date
1797 Half Cent Flowing Hair Liberty Cap LOW Head Seldom Seen Better Date
$406.00

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1804 DAMAGED DRAPED BUST COPPER HALF CENT US COIN 99c NO RESERVE,  1835 HOLED CLASSIC HEAD COPPER HALF CENT US COIN 99c NO RESERVE,  1853 HOLED BRAIDED HAIR COPPER HALF CENT US COIN 99c NO RESERVE,  1804 Draped Bust Half Cent Copper Coin,  1804 1 2C C 6 Spiked Chin BN Draped Bust Half Cent B 6 BW 4 Half Cent Cuds,  1932 Half Cent PCGS XF40 Classic Head Double Die Reverse Error DDR 1 2c Coin,  1804 Draped Bust Half Cent,  1826 Half Cent Classic Head,  1828 Half Cent 12 Star Classic Head,  1834 Half Cent Beautiful Classic Head,  1851 Braided Hair Half Cent AU+ Free Shipping After First Item,  Nice 1806 Draped Bust Half Cent VF Blue Toned Old US Coin Early American Copper,  1811 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT GOOD RARE,  1807 Draped Bust Half Cent C 1 NGC AG3 BN NR,  1809 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping,  1803 half cent Draped Bust Rare Key Date Early Copper very good only 92k minted,  1803 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT 1 2c T1,  1851 Braided Hair Half Cent,  1828 NGC 1 2C Half Cent Coin 12 Stars VF Details,  1853 Braided Hair Half Cent VF 35 PCGS Gold Shield Holder,  1803 Draped Bust Half Cent C 4 ANACS G6 Det NR,  1834 Classic Head Half Cent Variety C 1 NGC VG 8 BN NR,  1832 Classic Head Half Cent ANACS XF40 Details NR,  1834 Half Cent BU,  1803 1 2C NGC G 4 BN 1803 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT 1 2c,  1854 Half Cent Braided Hair Choice BU Early Copper Free Shipping,  1854 Braided Hair Half Cent,  1809 Classic Head Half Cent XF Circulated US Coin ,  1802 0 1 2c Draped Bust Half Cent ANACS AG03 Reverse of 1802,  1834 Half Cent Classic Head Free Shipping,  

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