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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.

1896 Sarawak Half Cent Copper coin Charles Brook Rajah
1896 Sarawak Half Cent Copper coin Charles Brook Rajah
$16.81
1810 Classic Head Half Cent Coin 1 2c
1810 Classic Head Half Cent Coin 1 2c
$23.06
1825 C 2 Classic Head Half Cent Coin 1 2c
1825 C 2 Classic Head Half Cent Coin 1 2c
$64.00
1828 Classic Head Half Cent Coin 1 2c
1828 Classic Head Half Cent Coin 1 2c
$57.00
1834 Classic Head Half Cent Coin 1 2c
1834 Classic Head Half Cent Coin 1 2c
$24.07
1829 Classic Head Half Cent Penny Circulated Condition 14SU
1829 Classic Head Half Cent Penny Circulated Condition 14SU
$8.00
1808 Draped Bust Half Cent ICG G6
1808 Draped Bust Half Cent ICG G6
$20.50
 1805  DRAPED BUST Half Cent
1805 DRAPED BUST Half Cent
$9.50
1832 Classic Head Half Cent
1832 Classic Head Half Cent
$17.50
 1804  DRAPED BUST Half Cent
1804 DRAPED BUST Half Cent
$21.00
 1806  DRAPED BUST Half Cent
1806 DRAPED BUST Half Cent
$21.00
 1800  DRAPED BUST Half Cent
1800 DRAPED BUST Half Cent
$22.50
 1809  CLASSIC HEAD Half Cent
1809 CLASSIC HEAD Half Cent
$11.50
1809 CLASSIC HEAD Half Cent
1809 CLASSIC HEAD Half Cent
$19.00
 1828  CLASSIC HEAD Half Cent
1828 CLASSIC HEAD Half Cent
$7.00
1828 CLASSIC HEAD Half Cent
1828 CLASSIC HEAD Half Cent
$9.00
 1832  CLASSIC HEAD Half Cent
1832 CLASSIC HEAD Half Cent
$14.50
1832 CLASSIC HEAD Half Cent
1832 CLASSIC HEAD Half Cent
$15.50
1834 CLASSIC HEAD Half Cent
1834 CLASSIC HEAD Half Cent
$3.76
1851 BRAIDED HAIR Half Cent
1851 BRAIDED HAIR Half Cent
$6.25
Lot of 19 Mixed US Coins Half Cent Flying Eagle Indian Head Etc 082514
Lot of 19 Mixed US Coins Half Cent Flying Eagle Indian Head Etc 082514
$16.50
Excellent Unusual Mint Error 1855 Braided Hair Half Cent NO RESERVE
Excellent Unusual Mint Error 1855 Braided Hair Half Cent NO RESERVE
$58.00
1804 US Half Cent Coin
1804 US Half Cent Coin
$5.24
1 2c Half Cent Penny 1808 VG F G2 R1 DRAPED BUST rich brown color popular
1 2c Half Cent Penny 1808 VG F G2 R1 DRAPED BUST rich brown color popular
$29.00
Old US Coins lot of 45 including 1807 Half Cent and 4 Large Cents
Old US Coins lot of 45 including 1807 Half Cent and 4 Large Cents
$87.09
1809 6 Classic Head Half Cent 9 Over Inverted 6 PCGS VG10 Certified
1809 6 Classic Head Half Cent 9 Over Inverted 6 PCGS VG10 Certified
$46.00
1787 Massachusetts Colonial Half Cent VG Details Hole True Auction
1787 Massachusetts Colonial Half Cent VG Details Hole True Auction
$36.00
2 Half Cent 1829 Classic Head 1855 Braided Hair Both Holed True Auction
2 Half Cent 1829 Classic Head 1855 Braided Hair Both Holed True Auction
$22.50
Circulated 1835 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping
Circulated 1835 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping
$27.00
Circulated 1829 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent Free SH
Circulated 1829 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent Free SH
$22.00

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




1896 Sarawak Half Cent Copper coin Charles Brook Rajah,  1810 Classic Head Half Cent Coin 1 2c,  1825 C 2 Classic Head Half Cent Coin 1 2c,  1828 Classic Head Half Cent Coin 1 2c,  1834 Classic Head Half Cent Coin 1 2c,  1829 Classic Head Half Cent Penny Circulated Condition 14SU,  1808 Draped Bust Half Cent ICG G6,   1805 DRAPED BUST Half Cent,  1832 Classic Head Half Cent,   1804 DRAPED BUST Half Cent,   1806 DRAPED BUST Half Cent,   1807 DRAPED BUST Half Cent,   1800 DRAPED BUST Half Cent,   1809 CLASSIC HEAD Half Cent,  1809 CLASSIC HEAD Half Cent ,   1828 CLASSIC HEAD Half Cent ,  1828 CLASSIC HEAD Half Cent,   1832 CLASSIC HEAD Half Cent,  1832 CLASSIC HEAD Half Cent ,  1834 CLASSIC HEAD Half Cent ,  1835 CLASSIC HEAD Half Cent ,  1851 BRAIDED HAIR Half Cent ,  Lot of 19 Mixed US Coins Half Cent Flying Eagle Indian Head Etc 082514,  Excellent Unusual Mint Error 1855 Braided Hair Half Cent NO RESERVE,  1804 US Half Cent Coin,  1 2c Half Cent Penny 1808 VG F G2 R1 DRAPED BUST rich brown color popular,  Old US Coins lot of 45 including 1807 Half Cent and 4 Large Cents,  1809 6 Classic Head Half Cent 9 Over Inverted 6 PCGS VG10 Certified,  1834 Classic Head Half Cent 1 2C PCGS VF35 Certified Graded,  1787 Massachusetts Colonial Half Cent VG Details Hole True Auction,  

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