Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Half Cents (1800 - 1857)


Half Cent
The Half Cent is the lowest face value coin struck by the United States. All half cents are scarce and its popularity has grown in the past years. All half cents were issued at the Philadelphia Mint. The Draped Bust design of Robert Scot first appeared on Large Cents in 1796, then appeared on Half Cents in 1800. The first coins of 1800, and all of 1802, were struck on cent stock: blanks rolled and cut down from misstruck cents. On the obverse, the Half Cent portrays Liberty facing right, with flowing hair and wearing a ribbon in her hair. The inscription LIBERTY is above, while is date is below. On the reverse, the denomination HALF CENT is surrounded by a wreath and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Half cents of 1809 sported a new look, with a matronly bust of Liberty facing left and a modified wreath on the reverse. The new design, by John Reich, lasted until 1836 and was called "Classic Head." Classic Head half cents were not minted from 1812-1824, in 1827 and 1830. This design featured Liberty with flowing hair and wearing a headband with the inscription LIBERTY. She was surrounded by 6 stars on the right and 7 on the left.
The Braided Hair Half Cent was designed in 1840 by Christian Gobrecht and had Miss Liberty facing left this time, wearing her hair braided and being surrounded by 13 stars. Her headband bearing the inscription LIBERTY looked more like a crown. The Braided Hair half cents boast some of the lowest mintages of any U.S. coin types. Some collectors, especially those who have an affinity for this denomination, believe they are among the best values, as well. Full Red examples are very scarce. 1852 Half Cents are known only in proof condition and the so-called "Originals" of this date are extremely rare. Most originals have large berries in the wreath on reverse, while most restrikes have small berries in the wreath.

Collecting Half Cents has grown in popularity in the past years. Fortunately for collectors, the inaugural year of the Draped Bust (1800) is a reasonably common date. The 1802, the first overdate of any half cent, is the rarest date of the type and includes one variety with a new reverse (scarce) and another with the old reverse of 1800 (extremely scarce). Collectors are also interested in the different varieties of the Draped Bust design. The 1804 "Spiked Chin" was caused when a foreign object was impressed into the obverse die, creating a spear-like projection from Liberty's chin. Other varieties of 1804 are: a Plain 4 (no crosslet) or a Crosslet 4, and with or without stems on the reverse. 1805 and 1806 half cents are found in some combination of Small and Large final digits in the date and/or with or without stems. The 1808/7 is the other overdate of this type. As with most early U.S. coins, high grade examples of Draped Bust half cents are hard to find. Full Red Uncirculated examples are extremely rare and, for most dates, simply don't exist.

The key dates of Classic Head half cents are 1831 and 1836. The 1831 has a stated mintage of 2,200 pieces, but experts disagree over whether any were made for circulation or if all known examples started out as Proofs. 1809 half cents include interesting varieties such as "9 over inverted 9" (previously called 1809/6) and "Circle inside 0". The year 1811 features Wide and Close dates, plus an unofficial restrike that combines an obverse of 1811 with a reverse from the Draped Bust type. In 1828, mint engravers forgot to add the correct number of stars to one obverse die, resulting in the "12 Stars" variety.

Some information on this page is courtesy of PCGSCoinfacts.com.

The Executive Coin Company is one of the top coin dealers in United States who offers a variety of Half Cents in different grades and condition. Our selection includes the 1804 Spiked Chin variety, the 1806 Draped Bust half cent with Small 6, and other popular examples. All half cents we offer are expertly photographed with great care and accuracy to help you make the best choice for your collection! Check out our online selection at http://www.executivecoin.com/