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U.S. Half Cents (1793-1857)

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U.S. Half Cents (1793-1857)

1834 Half Cent
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Learn More About U.S. Half Cents (1793-1857)

The history of the U.S. half-cent dates back to the post-Revolutionary era as one of the original coins authorized by the Coinage Act of 1792. The half-cent coin, or half-penny, is the smallest denomination of U.S. coin ever minted with a value of one two-hundredth of a dollar. Just slightly smaller than a modern U.S. quarter, the half-cent was minted in copper and had five different designs. Each design depicted variations of Lady Liberty on the front and a wreath on the back.


  • Liberty Cap, Head Facing Left (1793) – Features Phrygian cap on a pole. Designed and engraved by Adam Eckfeldt, after sketches by David Rittenhouse.
  • Liberty Cap, Head Facing Right (1794-1797) No pole. Different iterations designed and engraved by Robert Scot (1794) and John Smith Gardner (1795-1797).
  • Draped Bust, Head Facing Right (1800-1808) – Features ribbon in hair. Designed and engraved by Robert Scot, after Gilbert Stuart.
  • Classic Head, Head Facing Left (1809-1836) – Features a more Roman statue looking appearance with the word “LIBERTY” adorned on a hair ribbon. Different iterations designed and engraved by John Reich (1809-29) and William Kneass (1831-1836).
  • Coronet Head, Head Facing Left (1840-1857) – Features braided hair and “LIBERTY” ribbon. Designed and engraved by Christian Gobrecht.

To find out how much a half-cent coin is worth, call our expert numismatists at 1-800-965-2646.

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