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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.

1807 Draped Bust Half Cent VG
1807 Draped Bust Half Cent VG
$20.15
ELA 1804 Draped bust Half Cent copper Shipwreck Lost coin CCC NR auction
ELA 1804 Draped bust Half Cent copper Shipwreck Lost coin CCC NR auction
$20.50
EXTREMELY RARE DRAPED BUST 1804 CROSSLET 4 STEMS ONE HALF CENT PIECE
EXTREMELY RARE DRAPED BUST 1804 CROSSLET 4 STEMS ONE HALF CENT PIECE
$45.00
1809 Classic Head BN Half Cent 170 Degree Rotated Die Mint Error Coin
1809 Classic Head BN Half Cent 170 Degree Rotated Die Mint Error Coin
$18.00
1835 Classic Head Half Cent Partially Rotated Fine Type Coin
1835 Classic Head Half Cent Partially Rotated Fine Type Coin
$22.66
1804 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT C9
1804 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT C9
$150.00
1806 Draped Bust Half Cent Large 6 Stems Very Good Fine
1806 Draped Bust Half Cent Large 6 Stems Very Good Fine
$49.00
1809 Classic Half Cent Attractive and Original Fine
1809 Classic Half Cent Attractive and Original Fine
$44.00
1825 Classic Half Cent VF XF
1825 Classic Half Cent VF XF
$31.95
8 Rare Old Coins1804 Draped Bust Half Cent1875 Indian Head Cent
8 Rare Old Coins1804 Draped Bust Half Cent1875 Indian Head Cent
$28.75
1856 Half Cent Braided Hair Scarce This Nice  Free Shipping
1856 Half Cent Braided Hair Scarce This Nice Free Shipping
$118.76
1804 Half Cent Draped Bust Plain 4 No Stems Seldom Seen Early Date  Free S H
1804 Half Cent Draped Bust Plain 4 No Stems Seldom Seen Early Date Free S H
$265.00
9 Interesting Dug Detector Finds Fugio half cent Flowing Hair more
9 Interesting Dug Detector Finds Fugio half cent Flowing Hair more
$36.00
1826 Half Cent
1826 Half Cent
$35.00
1803 Half Cent
1803 Half Cent
$15.50
1809 Half Cent
1809 Half Cent
$29.88
VF XF 1826 Classic Head US Half Cent
VF XF 1826 Classic Head US Half Cent
$39.00
1807 Draped Bust Half Cent Obverse Rim Ding 14 Day Satisfaction Guarantee
1807 Draped Bust Half Cent Obverse Rim Ding 14 Day Satisfaction Guarantee
$29.16
1851 HALF CENT HIGH GRADE AU+ JUST GORGEOUS AUCTION STARTS AT 99 NO RESERVE
1851 HALF CENT HIGH GRADE AU+ JUST GORGEOUS AUCTION STARTS AT 99 NO RESERVE
$69.00
1834 half cent
1834 half cent
$53.00
3 DAY AUCTION High Grade 1853 Braided Hair Half Cent NO RESERVE
3 DAY AUCTION High Grade 1853 Braided Hair Half Cent NO RESERVE
$43.00
1832 Classic Head Half Cent PCGS Genuine XF Details Read
1832 Classic Head Half Cent PCGS Genuine XF Details Read
$37.00
1832 Classic Hair Half Cent VF 25 PCGS Looks very sharp
1832 Classic Hair Half Cent VF 25 PCGS Looks very sharp
$61.00
1804 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT LIGHT BROWN EXCELLENT DETAILS FREE SHIPPING
1804 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT LIGHT BROWN EXCELLENT DETAILS FREE SHIPPING
$31.30
1828 Classic Head Half Cent HK Love Token Only 606000 were Minted
1828 Classic Head Half Cent HK Love Token Only 606000 were Minted
$22.83
1804 HALF CENT DRAPED BUST SPIKED CHIN VARIETY
1804 HALF CENT DRAPED BUST SPIKED CHIN VARIETY
$76.00
1853 Half Cent Braided Hair All Around Pleasing BU Red Brown  Free Shipping
1853 Half Cent Braided Hair All Around Pleasing BU Red Brown Free Shipping
$132.50
1828 Half Cent
1828 Half Cent
$32.00
1794 1 2C C 2a Sm Edge Letters Liberty Cap Half Cent R2+ F Details NICE COIN
1794 1 2C C 2a Sm Edge Letters Liberty Cap Half Cent R2+ F Details NICE COIN
$130.10
1835 Classic Head Half Cent
1835 Classic Head Half Cent
$18.50

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




1807 Draped Bust Half Cent VG,  ELA 1804 Draped bust Half Cent copper Shipwreck Lost coin CCC NR auction,  EXTREMELY RARE DRAPED BUST 1804 CROSSLET 4 STEMS ONE HALF CENT PIECE,  1809 Classic Head BN Half Cent 170 Degree Rotated Die Mint Error Coin,  1835 Classic Head Half Cent Partially Rotated Fine Type Coin,  1804 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT C9,  1806 Draped Bust Half Cent Large 6 Stems Very Good Fine,  1809 Classic Half Cent Attractive and Original Fine,  1825 Classic Half Cent VF XF,  8 Rare Old Coins1804 Draped Bust Half Cent1875 Indian Head Cent,  1856 Half Cent Braided Hair Scarce This Nice Free Shipping,  1804 Half Cent Draped Bust Plain 4 No Stems Seldom Seen Early Date Free S H,  9 Interesting Dug Detector Finds Fugio half cent Flowing Hair more,  1826 Half Cent,  1803 Half Cent,  1809 Half Cent,  VF XF 1826 Classic Head US Half Cent,  1807 Draped Bust Half Cent Obverse Rim Ding 14 Day Satisfaction Guarantee,  1851 HALF CENT HIGH GRADE AU+ JUST GORGEOUS AUCTION STARTS AT 99 NO RESERVE,  1834 half cent,  3 DAY AUCTION High Grade 1853 Braided Hair Half Cent NO RESERVE,  1832 Classic Head Half Cent PCGS Genuine XF Details Read,  1832 Classic Hair Half Cent VF 25 PCGS Looks very sharp,  1804 DRAPED BUST HALF CENT LIGHT BROWN EXCELLENT DETAILS FREE SHIPPING,  1828 Classic Head Half Cent HK Love Token Only 606000 were Minted,  1804 HALF CENT DRAPED BUST SPIKED CHIN VARIETY,  1853 Half Cent Braided Hair All Around Pleasing BU Red Brown Free Shipping,  1828 Half Cent,  1794 1 2C C 2a Sm Edge Letters Liberty Cap Half Cent R2+ F Details NICE COIN,  1835 Classic Head Half Cent,  

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