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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.

1833 Classic Head Half Cent NGC UNC details
1833 Classic Head Half Cent NGC UNC details
$175.20
1804 C11 Plain 4 with Stems Half cent PCGS XF45 RARE David Kahn Rare Coins
1804 C11 Plain 4 with Stems Half cent PCGS XF45 RARE David Kahn Rare Coins
$1,180.00
Circulated 1800 Philadelphia Mint Copper Draped Bust Half Cent Free Shipping
Circulated 1800 Philadelphia Mint Copper Draped Bust Half Cent Free Shipping
$59.00
1833 CLASSIC HEAD 1 2 HALF CENT E93
1833 CLASSIC HEAD 1 2 HALF CENT E93
$40.75
1797 Liberty Cap Half Cent Damaged See Pictures
1797 Liberty Cap Half Cent Damaged See Pictures
$65.00
1797 1 2C Liberty Cap Half Cent PCGS Genuine Damage VG Details NR
1797 1 2C Liberty Cap Half Cent PCGS Genuine Damage VG Details NR
$152.49
1803 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT VERY GOOD DETAILS
1803 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT VERY GOOD DETAILS
$36.78
1808 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT GOOD DETAILS
1808 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT GOOD DETAILS
$24.50
1808 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT VERY GOOD DETAILS
1808 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT VERY GOOD DETAILS
$23.50
1808 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT FINE DETAILS
1808 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT FINE DETAILS
$71.00
1809 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT VERY GOOD DETAILS
1809 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT VERY GOOD DETAILS
$19.50
1809 1 2C Classic Head Half Cent
1809 1 2C Classic Head Half Cent
$26.00
1828 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT VERY GOOD DETAILS
1828 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT VERY GOOD DETAILS
$11.49
1829 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT VERY GOOD DETAILS
1829 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT VERY GOOD DETAILS
$17.50
1805 Draped Bust Half Cent ANACS Fine Details
1805 Draped Bust Half Cent ANACS Fine Details
$17.50
UNC 1828 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT 13 STARS SUPER NICE COIN
UNC 1828 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT 13 STARS SUPER NICE COIN
$51.00
1806 Draped Bust Half Cent LG 6 Stems C 4 Good Details
1806 Draped Bust Half Cent LG 6 Stems C 4 Good Details
$57.56
1833 CLASSICLIBERTY HEAD COPPER HALF CENT VISIBLE MARKINGS FREE
1833 CLASSICLIBERTY HEAD COPPER HALF CENT VISIBLE MARKINGS FREE
$39.00
1809 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT PENNY NR
1809 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT PENNY NR
$11.61
1851 Braided Hair Half Cent
1851 Braided Hair Half Cent
$31.31
Circulated 1805 Philadelphia Mint Copper Draped Bust Half Cent Free Shipping
Circulated 1805 Philadelphia Mint Copper Draped Bust Half Cent Free Shipping
$77.50
1851 Half Cent Braided Hair Sharply Struck Near Gem BU++ Copper Piece
1851 Half Cent Braided Hair Sharply Struck Near Gem BU++ Copper Piece
$43.00
1828 Half Cent Classic Head Pleasing Choice AU++ Copper Piece  Free Shippin
1828 Half Cent Classic Head Pleasing Choice AU++ Copper Piece Free Shippin
$67.00
1835 Classic Head Half Cent Coin
1835 Classic Head Half Cent Coin
$18.50
1800 Draped Bust Half Cent Coin
1800 Draped Bust Half Cent Coin
$17.00
1833  UNC Choice Classic Head Half Cent Rare Uncirculated 1 2 Very Sharp Coin
1833 UNC Choice Classic Head Half Cent Rare Uncirculated 1 2 Very Sharp Coin
$119.61
1804  C 8 SPIKED CHIN Draped Bust Half Cent Rare Variety 1 2 Coin
1804 C 8 SPIKED CHIN Draped Bust Half Cent Rare Variety 1 2 Coin
$68.00
1803 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT GOOD
1803 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT GOOD
$17.50
1825 Classic Head Half Cent
1825 Classic Head Half Cent
$24.50
1807 C 1 B 1 R1 Draped Bust Half Cent NGC XF 40 BN Hilt Collection
1807 C 1 B 1 R1 Draped Bust Half Cent NGC XF 40 BN Hilt Collection
$224.50

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




1833 Classic Head Half Cent NGC UNC details,  1804 C11 Plain 4 with Stems Half cent PCGS XF45 RARE David Kahn Rare Coins,  Circulated 1800 Philadelphia Mint Copper Draped Bust Half Cent Free Shipping,  1833 CLASSIC HEAD 1 2 HALF CENT E93,  1804 Draped Bust half Cent spiked chin stems closslet 4,  1797 Liberty Cap Half Cent Damaged See Pictures,  1797 1 2C Liberty Cap Half Cent PCGS Genuine Damage VG Details NR,  1803 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT VERY GOOD DETAILS,  1808 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT GOOD DETAILS,  1808 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT VERY GOOD DETAILS,  1808 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT FINE DETAILS,  1809 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT VERY GOOD DETAILS,  1809 1 2C Classic Head Half Cent,  1828 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT VERY GOOD DETAILS,  1829 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT VERY GOOD DETAILS,  1805 Draped Bust Half Cent ANACS Fine Details,  UNC 1828 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT 13 STARS SUPER NICE COIN,  1806 Draped Bust Half Cent LG 6 Stems C 4 Good Details,  1833 CLASSICLIBERTY HEAD COPPER HALF CENT VISIBLE MARKINGS FREE,  1809 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT PENNY NR,  1851 Braided Hair Half Cent,  Circulated 1805 Philadelphia Mint Copper Draped Bust Half Cent Free Shipping,  1851 Half Cent Braided Hair Sharply Struck Near Gem BU++ Copper Piece,  1828 Half Cent Classic Head Pleasing Choice AU++ Copper Piece Free Shippin,  1834 Half Cent Classic Head Sharply Struck Choice Gem BU++ Tough This Nice,  1835 Classic Head Half Cent Coin,  1800 Draped Bust Half Cent Coin,  1833 UNC Choice Classic Head Half Cent Rare Uncirculated 1 2 Very Sharp Coin,  1804 C 8 SPIKED CHIN Draped Bust Half Cent Rare Variety 1 2 Coin,  1803 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT GOOD,  

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