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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 Half Cent AU Brown
1826 Half Cent AU Brown
$66.09
1804 Half Cent Anacs VF30 Brown Struck Through
1804 Half Cent Anacs VF30 Brown Struck Through
$125.00
1806 Draped Bust Large 6 Stem Half Cent
1806 Draped Bust Large 6 Stem Half Cent
$56.00
1806 Draped Bust Half Cent XF  FREE SHIPPING
1806 Draped Bust Half Cent XF FREE SHIPPING
$183.50
1795 Half Cent Interesting Inverted Die Clash In Denticles Below Date 100 Orig
1795 Half Cent Interesting Inverted Die Clash In Denticles Below Date 100 Orig
$320.00
1829 US CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT  2054
1829 US CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT 2054
$21.06
1834 Classic Head Half Cent US Coin
1834 Classic Head Half Cent US Coin
$37.00
1804 Draped Bust Half Cent Plain 4 No Stems 1 2C PCGS VF35
1804 Draped Bust Half Cent Plain 4 No Stems 1 2C PCGS VF35
$224.72
1828 12 Stars Half Cent  a nice Very Fine coin
1828 12 Stars Half Cent a nice Very Fine coin
$41.00
1828 HALF CENT XF
1828 HALF CENT XF
$46.00
1806 HALF CENT VF DETAIL
1806 HALF CENT VF DETAIL
$45.06
1825 HALF CENT VG
1825 HALF CENT VG
$20.50
Circulated 1826 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping
Circulated 1826 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping
$23.29
Circulated 1853 Philadelphia Mint Copper Braided Hair Half Cent Free Shipping
Circulated 1853 Philadelphia Mint Copper Braided Hair Half Cent Free Shipping
$72.00
Circulated 1828 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping
Circulated 1828 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping
$19.50
1856 Half Cent UNC MS60 NGC 2644892 002
1856 Half Cent UNC MS60 NGC 2644892 002
$63.00
1832 Half Cent Classic Head Lower Mintage  Free Shipping
1832 Half Cent Classic Head Lower Mintage Free Shipping
$40.51
1804 Half Cent Draped Bust Plain 4 Stemless Tough Early Date  Free Shipping
1804 Half Cent Draped Bust Plain 4 Stemless Tough Early Date Free Shipping
$92.00
1849 BRAIDED HAIR HALF CENT GOOD DETAILS
1849 BRAIDED HAIR HALF CENT GOOD DETAILS
$43.00
1835 HALF CENT 99 CENT START NR
1835 HALF CENT 99 CENT START NR
$28.50
1856 BRAIDED HAIR HALF CENT VERY FINE DETAILS
1856 BRAIDED HAIR HALF CENT VERY FINE DETAILS
$32.00
1826 Half Cent
1826 Half Cent
$12.50
1828 Classic Head Half Cent
1828 Classic Head Half Cent
$39.00
1855 Braided Hair Half Cent
1855 Braided Hair Half Cent
$50.00
1833 US Classic Head Half Cent
1833 US Classic Head Half Cent
$9.51
1809 Classic Head Half Cent Small o Inside 0 G+ Condition C150
1809 Classic Head Half Cent Small o Inside 0 G+ Condition C150
$10.50
1828 Classic Half Cent 12 Star Attractive VF XF Coin
1828 Classic Half Cent 12 Star Attractive VF XF Coin
$77.55
1855 Braided Hair half cent
1855 Braided Hair half cent
$17.50
Circulated 1829 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping
Circulated 1829 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping
$10.60
1835 Classic Head Copper Half Cent ANACS AU50
1835 Classic Head Copper Half Cent ANACS AU50
$61.25

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




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