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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.

United States 1837 Half Cent Hard Times Token
United States 1837 Half Cent Hard Times Token
$47.65
1833 Classic Head Half Cent C 1 NGC MS61 BN hucky
1833 Classic Head Half Cent C 1 NGC MS61 BN hucky
$225.38
1856 Braided Hair Half Cent C 1 NGC AU55 BN hucky
1856 Braided Hair Half Cent C 1 NGC AU55 BN hucky
$152.50
1833  Classic Head Half Cent 1 2 Sharp Rare Coin Free Shipping
1833 Classic Head Half Cent 1 2 Sharp Rare Coin Free Shipping
$73.55
1809 HALF CENT US Copper Coin 1 2 Penny Estate ORIGINAL Lot 1 NO RESERVE
1809 HALF CENT US Copper Coin 1 2 Penny Estate ORIGINAL Lot 1 NO RESERVE
$12.59
1856 Braided Half Cent Sharp  Attractive AU
1856 Braided Half Cent Sharp Attractive AU
$81.00
12 ND LARGE CENTS PLUS 1 HALF CENT99 CENT STARTNR
12 ND LARGE CENTS PLUS 1 HALF CENT99 CENT STARTNR
$24.00
1829 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT
1829 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT
$32.00
1834 HALF CENT CHOICE UNC
1834 HALF CENT CHOICE UNC
$76.00
Choice original Fine 1835 Classic turban head copper Half Cent CCC NR auction
Choice original Fine 1835 Classic turban head copper Half Cent CCC NR auction
$27.00
1807 Draped Bust Half Cent Sharp  Nice Extra Fine
1807 Draped Bust Half Cent Sharp Nice Extra Fine
$110.50
1809 Classic Half Cent Superb Good Very Good
1809 Classic Half Cent Superb Good Very Good
$21.11
1804 Draped Bust Copper Half Cent US Coin Very Nice
1804 Draped Bust Copper Half Cent US Coin Very Nice
$79.99
1835 Half Cent Classic Head Scarce Early Date Survivor  Free Shipping
1835 Half Cent Classic Head Scarce Early Date Survivor Free Shipping
$45.00
British North Borneo 1886 H Half Cent
British North Borneo 1886 H Half Cent
$13.00
British North Borneo 1891 H Half Cent
British North Borneo 1891 H Half Cent
$13.50
1857 COUNTERSTAMPED AU UNC HALF CENT99 CENT STARTNR
1857 COUNTERSTAMPED AU UNC HALF CENT99 CENT STARTNR
$38.00
1851 HALF CENT99 CENT STARTNR
1851 HALF CENT99 CENT STARTNR
$21.56
1833 HALF CENT99 CENT STARTNR
1833 HALF CENT99 CENT STARTNR
$13.50
Nice original Very Fine VF 1835 Classic turban head Half Cent CCC NR auction
Nice original Very Fine VF 1835 Classic turban head Half Cent CCC NR auction
$31.14
1804 Draped Bust Half Cent 1 2 C
1804 Draped Bust Half Cent 1 2 C
$127.75
1853 US Braided Hair Half Cent Beautiful Detail
1853 US Braided Hair Half Cent Beautiful Detail
$46.50
1797 US Mint FLOWING HAIR LIBERTY HALF CENT Coin NICE
1797 US Mint FLOWING HAIR LIBERTY HALF CENT Coin NICE
$58.00
1806 US Mint DRAPED BUST LIBERTY HALF CENT Penny NICE
1806 US Mint DRAPED BUST LIBERTY HALF CENT Penny NICE
$52.00
1810 US Mint CLASSIC HEAD LIBERTY HALF CENT Coin NICE
1810 US Mint CLASSIC HEAD LIBERTY HALF CENT Coin NICE
$17.50
1832 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT CH AU MS US COIN
1832 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT CH AU MS US COIN
$36.53
1826 Classic Head Half Cent 14 Day Satisfaction Guarantee
1826 Classic Head Half Cent 14 Day Satisfaction Guarantee
$49.00
1809 HALF CENT 99 CENT STARTNR2
1809 HALF CENT 99 CENT STARTNR2
$6.60
1793 LIBERTY CAP HALF CENT NEAR EXTREMELY FINE VERY RARE
1793 LIBERTY CAP HALF CENT NEAR EXTREMELY FINE VERY RARE
$1,516.17
1835 Half Cent nice strike
1835 Half Cent nice strike
$26.00

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




United States 1837 Half Cent Hard Times Token,  1833 Classic Head Half Cent C 1 NGC MS61 BN hucky,  1856 Braided Hair Half Cent C 1 NGC AU55 BN hucky,  1833 Classic Head Half Cent 1 2 Sharp Rare Coin Free Shipping,  1809 HALF CENT US Copper Coin 1 2 Penny Estate ORIGINAL Lot 1 NO RESERVE,  1856 Braided Half Cent Sharp Attractive AU,  12 ND LARGE CENTS PLUS 1 HALF CENT99 CENT STARTNR,  1829 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT,  1834 HALF CENT CHOICE UNC,  Choice original Fine 1835 Classic turban head copper Half Cent CCC NR auction,  1807 Draped Bust Half Cent Sharp Nice Extra Fine,  1809 Classic Half Cent Superb Good Very Good,  1804 Draped Bust Copper Half Cent US Coin Very Nice,  1835 Half Cent Classic Head Scarce Early Date Survivor Free Shipping,  British North Borneo 1886 H Half Cent,  British North Borneo 1891 H Half Cent,  1857 COUNTERSTAMPED AU UNC HALF CENT99 CENT STARTNR,  1851 HALF CENT99 CENT STARTNR,  1833 HALF CENT99 CENT STARTNR,  Nice original Very Fine VF 1835 Classic turban head Half Cent CCC NR auction,  1804 Draped Bust Half Cent 1 2 C,  1853 US Braided Hair Half Cent Beautiful Detail,  1797 US Mint FLOWING HAIR LIBERTY HALF CENT Coin NICE,  1806 US Mint DRAPED BUST LIBERTY HALF CENT Penny NICE,  1810 US Mint CLASSIC HEAD LIBERTY HALF CENT Coin NICE,  1832 CLASSIC HEAD HALF CENT CH AU MS US COIN,  1826 Classic Head Half Cent 14 Day Satisfaction Guarantee,  QUALITY 1826 CLASSIC HEAD COPPER HALF CENT FINE CONDITION,  1809 HALF CENT 99 CENT STARTNR2,  1793 LIBERTY CAP HALF CENT NEAR EXTREMELY FINE VERY RARE,  

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