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HALF CENTS
Half Cent - 1795 Half Cent

Half Cents - The Half Cent is the lowest face value coin struck by the United States. The early Mint in Philadelphia had many challenges. Conditions were poor even at times chaotic. Each of the specialists, the designers, engravers, and press operators were men who had previously worked in other fields. Coin manufacturing was a new trade for them. Production was sporadic. For the new Mint to coin each of the mandated denominations, it took four years. This delay was partly because of inexperience and governmental obstacles. Bonds that were unrealistically high were impediments to engravers working with precious metals. Congress was not united on the need for a government mint since private and foreign coinage seemed to work. Because of the non-existent or low production numbers in the early years of the Mint, foreign copper, silver and gold circulated along with American made coins for many years until they were later demonetized.

Record keeping in the Mint’s early years was fairly inaccurate. At the end of the eighteenth century Philadelphia had recovered from the British occupation and Revolutionary War. It was the second largest city in the English-speaking world, but it could do nothing to protect its citizens from the mosquito-borne epidemic of yellow fever. Its wealthy citizens went to the countryside to escape, and the poor grimly waited their fate. Of course these annual epidemics caused havoc with all manufacturing that required continuity, such as a coinage sequence. The Mint shut operations during the late summer and early fall every year. In addition to yellow fever, disorder at the Mint was also caused by chronic bullion shortages and coin dies that would wear out and had to be re-engraved because they were not taken out of production until they failed completely. Often dies were locked up and later taken out of storage without great attention and care. There was also a jealous Chief Engraver, Robert Scot, who was in his seventies and had failing eyesight.

Liberty Cap Half Cent - Head Left (1793 only)

Liberty Cap Half Cent - Head Right (1794-1797)

Draped Bust Half Cent (1800-1808)

Capped Bust Half Cent (1809-1836)

1837 Half Cent Token

Braided Hair Half Cent (1840-1857)



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Half Cents - United States Half Cents (1793-1857)

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