Half cent (United States coin)

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Half Cent (United States)
Half cent obv.jpg Half cent rev.jpg
Value: 0.005 U.S. dollar
Mass: 6.739 g (1793–1795)

5.443 g (1795–1857)

Diameter: 22 mm (1793) - 23.5 mm
Thickness: 2 mm
Edge: lettered (1793,1797)

plain (1794–1857)

gripped (1797)

Composition: 100% Cu

The half cent is the smallest denomination of United States coin ever minted.

History

First authorized by the Coinage Act of 1792 on April 2, 1792,1 the coin was produced in the United States from 1793 to 1857. 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).2 Coinage was discontinued by the Coinage Act of February 21, 1857. They were all produced at the Philadelphia Mint.

At the time of their discontinuation, the half cent had the buying power of a dime in today's economic climate.3

Design Varieties

There are several different types of half cents:

There are no mint marks on any of the coins (all minted at the Philadelphia Mint) and the edges are plain on most half cents. On the 1793 coin and a variety of the 1797 coin, it was lettered TWO HUNDRED FOR A DOLLAR and another 1797 variety had a gripped, or milled, edge.

Mintage Figures

Liberty Cap, Left

  • 1793 - 35,334

Liberty Cap, Right

  • 1794 - 81,600
  • 1795 - 139,690
  • 1796 - 1,390
  • 1797 - 127,840

Draped Bust

  • 1800 - 202,908
  • 1802 - 20,266
  • 1803 - 92,000
  • 1804 - 1,055,312
  • 1805 - 814,464
  • 1806 - 356,000
  • 1807 - 476,000
  • 1808 - 400,000

Classic Head (Shown at top right.)

  • 1809 - 1,154,572
  • 1810 - 215,000
  • 1811 - 63,140
  • 1825 - 63,000
  • 1826 - 234,000
  • 1828 - 606,000
  • 1829 - 487,000
  • 1831 - 2,200
  • 1832 - 51,000
  • 1833 - 103,000
  • 1834 - 141,000
  • 1835 - 398,000
  • 1836 - proof only, restrikes were made
  • 1837 - No half cents were struck by the United States government; however, due to the need for small change, half-cent tokens were produced by private businessmen.

Braided Hair

  • 1840 through 1849 were proof-only issues. There were restrikes made.
  • 1849 - 39,864
  • 1850 - 39,812
  • 1851 - 147,672
  • 1852 - proof only. Restrikes were made.
  • 1853 - 129,694
  • 1854 - 55,358
  • 1855 - 56,500
  • 1856 - 40,430
  • 1857 - 35,180

External links

References

  1. ^ Whitman The Official Guide Book 64th Edition 2011 page: #87
  2. ^ Whitman The Official Guide Book 64th Edition 2011 pages: #87, #89, #90, and #92
  3. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/04/04/bringing-dollars-and-cents-into-this-century/please-finally-end-the-penny

The Half Cent Die State Book 1793-1857 by Ronald P. Manley, Ph.D., 1998.

American Half Cents - The "Little Half Sisters" (Second Edition) by Roger S. Cohen, Jr., 1982.

Walter Breen's Encyclopedia of United States Half Cents 1793-1857 by Walter Breen, 1983.








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