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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.

1856 Half Cent Braided Hair Very Nice  Sharp BU Copper  Free Shipping
1856 Half Cent Braided Hair Very Nice Sharp BU Copper Free Shipping
$67.66
1834 Half Cent Classic Head Very Nice  Sharp BU Copper  Free Shipping
1834 Half Cent Classic Head Very Nice Sharp BU Copper Free Shipping
$30.15
ANACS AG3 1810 Half Cent Rotated Dies
ANACS AG3 1810 Half Cent Rotated Dies
$8.50
ANACS AU58 Details 1854 Half Cent
ANACS AU58 Details 1854 Half Cent
$37.00
1833 Half Cent Classic Head  Free Shipping
1833 Half Cent Classic Head Free Shipping
$68.00
1828 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping
1828 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping
$15.50
1832 BN Classic Head Half Cent Coin F on Copper  Nice Rare One
1832 BN Classic Head Half Cent Coin F on Copper Nice Rare One
$17.17
1835 Half Cent Classic Head Tough Choice AU+ Copper Survivor  Free Shipping
1835 Half Cent Classic Head Tough Choice AU+ Copper Survivor Free Shipping
$51.00
1851 BRAIDED HAIR HALF CENT OUTSTANDING BROWN AU COIN NO RESERVE 335
1851 BRAIDED HAIR HALF CENT OUTSTANDING BROWN AU COIN NO RESERVE 335
$23.50
1809 Classic Head Half Cent VG Very Good HC931
1809 Classic Head Half Cent VG Very Good HC931
$7.52
1855 BRAIDED HAIR HALF CENT
1855 BRAIDED HAIR HALF CENT
$28.00
1805 US DRAPED BUST HALF CENT
1805 US DRAPED BUST HALF CENT
$29.79
1832  Classic Head type Half Cent Piece
1832 Classic Head type Half Cent Piece
$20.50
1807 USA HALF CENT DRAPED LIBERTY and 1905 STEEL INDIAN HEAD PENNY
1807 USA HALF CENT DRAPED LIBERTY and 1905 STEEL INDIAN HEAD PENNY
$15.50
1804 Half Cent with Draped Bust No Reserve
1804 Half Cent with Draped Bust No Reserve
$24.50
1804 Half Cent Penny Stemless Variety Circulated Condition 7SU 2
1804 Half Cent Penny Stemless Variety Circulated Condition 7SU 2
$20.50
1828 1 2c NGC F12 BN 13 Stars Half Cent No Reserve
1828 1 2c NGC F12 BN 13 Stars Half Cent No Reserve
$39.00
1835 1 2c NGC VF25 BN C 2 Half Cent No Reserve
1835 1 2c NGC VF25 BN C 2 Half Cent No Reserve
$33.00
1855 US BRAIDED HAIR COPPER HALF CENT
1855 US BRAIDED HAIR COPPER HALF CENT
$36.00
Half cent penny 1804 spiked chin
Half cent penny 1804 spiked chin
$21.91
1804 Draped Bust Half Cent
1804 Draped Bust Half Cent
$17.50
1794 C1a Liberty Cap Half Cent NGC VF20 Mark Palmer Collection Starts 1c NO RES
1794 C1a Liberty Cap Half Cent NGC VF20 Mark Palmer Collection Starts 1c NO RES
$1,001.00
1795 or 1796 Liberty Cap Half Cent  You Decide  With Pole  Great for a Book
1795 or 1796 Liberty Cap Half Cent You Decide With Pole Great for a Book
$306.35
1794 C1a Liberty Cap Half Cent PCGS EF Mark Palmer Collection Starts 1C NO Res
1794 C1a Liberty Cap Half Cent PCGS EF Mark Palmer Collection Starts 1C NO Res
$541.00
1804 C6 Draped Bust Half Cent PCGS AU55 Spiked Chin Mark Palmer Starts 1C NO Res
1804 C6 Draped Bust Half Cent PCGS AU55 Spiked Chin Mark Palmer Starts 1C NO Res
$478.00
1804 C13 Draped Bust Half Cent PCGS AU53 Mark Palmer Collection Starts 1C NO Res
1804 C13 Draped Bust Half Cent PCGS AU53 Mark Palmer Collection Starts 1C NO Res
$330.00
1806 C1 Draped Bust Half Cent PCGS EF45 Mark Palmer Collection Starts 1C NO Res
1806 C1 Draped Bust Half Cent PCGS EF45 Mark Palmer Collection Starts 1C NO Res
$103.50
1833 Classic Head Half Cent PCGS MS64 Sweet Coin Die Crack
1833 Classic Head Half Cent PCGS MS64 Sweet Coin Die Crack
$377.00
1807 C1 Draped Bust Half Cent PCGS VF35 Rare EDS M10 Mark Palmer 1C NO Reserve
1807 C1 Draped Bust Half Cent PCGS VF35 Rare EDS M10 Mark Palmer 1C NO Reserve
$173.50
1809 C2 R3 Classic Head Half Cent NGC VF30 Mark Palmer Starts 1C NO Reserve
1809 C2 R3 Classic Head Half Cent NGC VF30 Mark Palmer Starts 1C NO Reserve
$81.00

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




1856 Half Cent Braided Hair Very Nice Sharp BU Copper Free Shipping,  1834 Half Cent Classic Head Very Nice Sharp BU Copper Free Shipping,  ANACS AG3 1810 Half Cent Rotated Dies,  ANACS AU50 Details 1851 Half Cent,  ANACS AU58 Details 1854 Half Cent,  1833 Half Cent Classic Head Free Shipping,  1828 Philadelphia Mint Copper Classic Head Half Cent Free Shipping,  1832 BN Classic Head Half Cent Coin F on Copper Nice Rare One ,  1835 Half Cent Classic Head Tough Choice AU+ Copper Survivor Free Shipping,  1851 BRAIDED HAIR HALF CENT OUTSTANDING BROWN AU COIN NO RESERVE 335,  1809 Classic Head Half Cent VG Very Good HC931,  1855 BRAIDED HAIR HALF CENT,  1805 US DRAPED BUST HALF CENT,  1832 Classic Head type Half Cent Piece,  1807 USA HALF CENT DRAPED LIBERTY and 1905 STEEL INDIAN HEAD PENNY,  1804 Half Cent with Draped Bust No Reserve,  1804 Half Cent Penny Stemless Variety Circulated Condition 7SU 2,  1828 1 2c NGC F12 BN 13 Stars Half Cent No Reserve,  1835 1 2c NGC VF25 BN C 2 Half Cent No Reserve,  1855 US BRAIDED HAIR COPPER HALF CENT,  1809 Half Cent Classic Head 1 2 Cent,  Half cent penny 1804 spiked chin,  1804 Draped Bust Half Cent,  1794 C1a Liberty Cap Half Cent NGC VF20 Mark Palmer Collection Starts 1c NO RES,  1795 or 1796 Liberty Cap Half Cent You Decide With Pole Great for a Book,  1794 C1a Liberty Cap Half Cent PCGS EF Mark Palmer Collection Starts 1C NO Res,  1804 C6 Draped Bust Half Cent PCGS AU55 Spiked Chin Mark Palmer Starts 1C NO Res,  1804 C13 Draped Bust Half Cent PCGS AU53 Mark Palmer Collection Starts 1C NO Res,  1806 C1 Draped Bust Half Cent PCGS EF45 Mark Palmer Collection Starts 1C NO Res,  1833 Classic Head Half Cent PCGS MS64 Sweet Coin Die Crack,  

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