Half Cent, Coin Type from United States - detailed information

Half Cent, Coin Type from United States (issued 1793 - 1857)
Coin TypeHalf Cent

The half cent is the smallest denomination of United States coin ever minted. It was first minted in 1793 and last minted in 1857. During its existence, it was minted with five different designs.

First authorized by the Coinage Act of 1792 on April 2, 1792, the half-cent piece was made of 100% copper and was valued at five milles, or one two-hundredth of a dollar. It was slightly smaller than a modern U.S. quarter with diameters 22 mm (1793), 23.5 mm (1794-1836) and 23 mm (1840-1857).

Its coinage was discontinued by the Coinage Act of February 21, 1857. All of the coins were produced by the Philadelphia Mint; there is no mint mark on any of them.

While discontinued and not used any more, the coins were never officially demonetised.

Obverse
United States / Half Cent - obverse photo

In 1973 only, the obverse of the half cent featured a bust of the female personification of Liberty facing left, with flowing hair and a Liberty cap on a pole behind her.

In 1794, the design was flipped so that Liberty faced right. This was used until 1797.

After a two-year pause, a new design was minted between 1800 and 1808 featuring the so-called Draped Bust of Liberty, by Robert Scot, Chief Engraver of the U.S. Mint.

A fourth design was used between 1809 and 1837, known as the Classic Head. It was sculpted by engraver John Reich, whose version was used on copper coinage; a later re-design by Chief Engraver William Kneass was used on gold coins between 1834 and 1839.

The fifth and final obverse - issued from 1840 to 1857 - was the so-called Braided Hair effigy of Liberty and was designed by Christian Gobrecht, who improved on an earlier model (used for one cent coins) by Robert Scot.

Obverse Inscription
Reverse
United States / Half Cent - reverse photo

The first reverse (1794 - 1808) has the denomination HALF CENT centrally on two lines, within a laurel wreath; beneath the wreath, the value is also shown as a fraction of a dollar: 1/200. Along the outer edge, the inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. There is a decorative beaded border along the rim of the coin.

The second reverse (1809 - 1857) has a re-designed laurel wreath and omits the fractional value.

Reverse Inscription HALF CENT UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
EdgeEdge Inscription
Notes

For coins of other countries denominated as Half Cent, see:
- Half Cent, Sarawak - issued 1863 to 1933, demonetised 1953
- Half Cent, British North Borneo - issued 1885 to 1907, demonetised 1953
- Half Cent, South Africa - issued 1961 to 1983, withdrawn 1984

Coin Type: Half Cent - (44) Coins
Coin NameMintageSymbolLegend
Half Cent 1793 Liberty Cap 35,334 Liberty, Portrait LIBERTY 1793
Half Cent 1794 Liberty Cap 81,600 Liberty, Portrait LIBERTY 1794
Half Cent 1795 Liberty Cap 139,690 Liberty, Portrait LIBERTY 1795
Half Cent 1796 Liberty Cap 6,480 Liberty, Portrait LIBERTY 1796
Half Cent 1797 Liberty Cap 127,840 Liberty, Portrait LIBERTY 1797
Half Cent 1800 Draped Bust 202,908 Liberty, Portrait LIBERTY 1800
Half Cent 1802 Draped Bust 20,266 Liberty, Portrait LIBERTY 1802
Half Cent 1803 Draped Bust 92,000 Liberty, Portrait LIBERTY 1803
Half Cent 1804 Draped Bust 1,055,312 Liberty, Portrait LIBERTY 1804
Half Cent 1805 Draped Bust 814,464 Liberty, Portrait LIBERTY 1805
Half Cent 1806 Draped Bust 356,000 Liberty, Portrait LIBERTY 1806
Half Cent 1807 Draped Bust 476,000 Liberty, Portrait LIBERTY 1807
Half Cent 1808 Draped Bust 400,000 Liberty, Portrait LIBERTY 1808
Half Cent 1809 Classic Head 1,154,572 Liberty, Portrait ******* 1809 ******
Half Cent 1810 Classic Head 215,000 Liberty, Portrait ******* 1810 ******
Half Cent 1811 Classic Head 63,140 Liberty, Portrait ******* 1811 ******
Half Cent 1825 Classic Head 63,000 Liberty, Portrait ******* 1825 ******
Half Cent 1826 Classic Head 234,000 Liberty, Portrait ******* 1826 ******
Half Cent 1828 Classic Head 606,000 Liberty, Portrait ******* 1828 ******
Half Cent 1829 Classic Head 487,000 Liberty, Portrait ******* 1829 ******
Half Cent 1831 Classic Head 2,200 Liberty, Portrait ******* 1831 ******
Half Cent 1832 Classic Head 51,000 Liberty, Portrait ******* 1832 ******
Half Cent 1833 Classic Head 103,000 Liberty, Portrait ******* 1833 ******
Half Cent 1834 Classic Head 141,000 Liberty, Portrait ******* 1834 ******
Half Cent 1835 Classic Head 398,000 Liberty, Portrait ******* 1835 ******
Half Cent 1836 Classic Head (Proof only) unknown Liberty, Portrait ******* 1836 ******
Half Cent 1840 Braided Hair (Proof only) unknown Liberty, Portrait ************* 1840
Half Cent 1841 Braided Hair (Proof only) unknown Liberty, Portrait ************* 1841
Half Cent 1842 Braided Hair (Proof only) unknown Liberty, Portrait ************* 1842
Half Cent 1843 Braided Hair (Proof only) unknown Liberty, Portrait ************* 1843
Half Cent 1844 Braided Hair (Proof only) unknown Liberty, Portrait ************* 1844
Half Cent 1845 Braided Hair (Proof only) unknown Liberty, Portrait ************* 1845
Half Cent 1846 Braided Hair (Proof only) unknown Liberty, Portrait ************* 1846
Half Cent 1847 Braided Hair (Proof only) unknown Liberty, Portrait ************* 1847
Half Cent 1848 Braided Hair (Proof only) unknown Liberty, Portrait ************* 1848
Half Cent 1849 Braided Hair 39,864 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1849
Half Cent 1850 Braided Hair 39,812 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1850
Half Cent 1851 Braided Hair 147,672 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1851
Half Cent 1852 Braided Hair (Proof only) unknown Liberty, Portrait ************* 1852
Half Cent 1853 Braided Hair 129,694 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1853
Half Cent 1854 Braided Hair 55,358 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1854
Half Cent 1855 Braided Hair 56,500 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1855
Half Cent 1856 Braided Hair 40,430 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1856
Half Cent 1857 Braided Hair 35,180 Liberty, Portrait ************* 1857
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Half Cent: Details
CountryUnited States
CurrencyUS Dollar
Sub-types Half Cent, Liberty Cap
Half Cent, Draped Bust
Half Cent, Classic Head
Half Cent, Braided Hair
From1793
To1857
Face Value1/2 (x Cent)
CurrentNo; withdrawn 1857
MaterialCopper
Designer
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
ShapeRound
OrientationCoin Alignment (Axis 6)
Size
Mass