Half-Cents and Cents

#1 Half-Cents and Cents Buyer Las Vegas & Henderson

History of Half Cents and Cents

One of the most iconic coins to have ever been produced by the US Mint were without a doubt the Half-Cents and Cents, or also known as Large Cents, which was first sanctioned by way of an Act of Congress in 1792. But it was on 6 July 1785 when the Congress passed a resolution that the national currency was to be based on the decimal system, the units being dollars and cents.

The Congress passed another resolution dealing with the national currency on 3 March 1791. This time, definitely authorizing a mint to be set up and the president to engage artists and purchase coining machinery.

It was not until 1792 when the first half cents was produced at the new mint set up in Philadelphia. The half cent was one of the original coins authorized by the Coinage Act of 1792, and among the first ever minted by the United States.

The issue of these coins was very limited however, and it was not until the following year that coins were struck in any quantity and even then the issue only consisted of cents and half cents. These cents was replaced by small cents when it started its production on 1856.

Design Variations of Half Cents Throughout History

The first design features an image of the Lady Liberty facing on the left and carrying her Phrygian cap on a pole. It was minted only for 1793 and is today the rarest half cent.

On 1794, the “Liberty Cap” design was revised slightly, while Lady Liberty faces right instead of left. In 1796, another slight revisions was made, a few half cents were minted without the pole on which Liberty’s cap is hoisted. This design lasted until 1797.

The design of the half cent in succeeding years largely followed that of its cousin, the one cent coin or what we call, the “large cent.” The Draped Bust design first appeared on the large cent in 1796, but was only extended to the half cent from 1800-1808. The obverse (front) was designed by Gilbert Stuart and Robert Scot, while the reverse (back) was designed by Scot-John Gardner. And all these designs were engraved by Robert Scot.

The Classic Head was the next in line of design and was issued on 1809 to 1836. This was designed/engraved by Robert Scot or John Reich. The design features a left-facing Lady Liberty boasting headgear not very dissimilar to a crown. More appropriately, this headgear is known as a fillet and is rumored to be designed after the crown given to the best male athletes of Ancient Greece.

In 1840 to 1857, a new design was made. The Braided Hair which is designed by Christian Gobrecht, features the image of Lady Liberty with a tight braid. This gives her a much younger, invigorated look. This design was held in high regard by the public and remained on the coin unchanged until the Half Cent was done away with in the late 1850s.

Design Variations of Cents Throughout History

Large cent was coined every year from 1793 to 1857 except 1815 because of war that happened between United States and Great Britain. The war embargo shipments of new copper planchets which were imported from Great Britain. But as soon as the war ended in 1815, the mint wasted no time in ordering new planchets.

The first designed large cent was the flowing hair cent on 1793. It features the Lady Liberty with a flowing, unkempt hair on the obverse, and a chain on the reverse. It was designed by Adam Eckfeldt, and this is the first official coinage minted by the United States federal government on its own equipment and premises.

On the same year, the flowing hair cent was redesigned due to its unattractiveness. The Lady Liberty was given a longer and wilder hair, and the chain was changed to wreath on the reverse.

Liberty Cap cents replace the two previous designs on that same year for it received a lot of criticisms from the public. This design was more successful and it was continued until 1796. Joseph Wright designed this coin that features the Lady Liberty facing to the right with a cap and “tamed” her wild hair.

On 1796, Draped Bust cents was minted. It replaced the previous design, and features Liberty wearing a drapery at the neckline and a ribbon in her flowing hair. The reverse design now featured an olive wreath. It was redesigned by Robert Scott and it was struck until 1807.

On 1808, draped bust cents were replaced by Classic Head cents. The so-called “Classic Head” derives its name from the fillet worn by Liberty on the obverse, though the fillet was worn only by male athletes in ancient Greece. It was designed by John Reich, assistant to Chief Engraver Scot. It was minted until 1814.

Coronet cents soon came to rise, and it has two types of cents and were minted in 1816 to 1857. The first type in the middle dates was the Matron Head. It replaced the Classic Head because of negative criticisms it has received. This design enlarged the obverse portrait of Liberty, giving it a much more mature look, and surrounded the portrait with stars along the outer edge of the coin. The Matron Head lasted until 1839.

The second type was made on the later dates, and it was called the Braided Hair cents. The Coronet cents were redesigned in 1835 by new Chief Engraver Christian Gobrecht. The obverse features the Lady Liberty with a slimmer, and more youthful appearance. This cent was minted from 1839 to 1857.

What are Half Cents and Cents

Half cents, also called as half penny was one of the earliest US coins. The US half cent is the smallest denomination ever minted by the United States. It was first produced in 1793 as authorized by the Coinage Act of 1792 on April 2, 1792. All coins were made with 100% copper and minted at the Philadelphia Mint. Coinage of half cents was discontinued by the congressional act of February 21, 1857.

One cent coins and half cents were the first coins struck for circulation by the United States mint in 1793. Cents or large cents are the first US coins to ever minted by the United States government on its own equipment and premises. Large cents were produced in every year from 1793 until 1857 except for 1815.

Half Cents and Large Cents were issued in a variety of design types from 1793 until 1857, when both were terminated.

Types of Half Cents

These are the six types of half cents:

  • Liberty Cap Half Cent, facing left – was only struck in 1793 and featured the head of Liberty wearing a cap.
  • Liberty Cap Half Cent, facing right, large head – was struck in 1794 only
  • Liberty Cap Half Cent, facing right, small head – was struck in 1795 to 1797
  • Draped Bust Half Cent – was struck from 1800 to 1808 and featured the bust of Liberty facing right
  • Classic Head Half Cent – was struck from 1809 to 1835 and featured the head of Liberty facing left.
  • Braided Hair Half Cent – was struck from 1840 to 1857 and featured the same image of Liberty that was used on large cents in 1839, but the versions from 1840 to 1848 are proofs.

Types of Cents or Large Cents

The coins were not called large cent at the time they were circulated. They were only called cents or one cent. But as of today, coin collectors call it large cent because compared to our modern day “penny”, it is huge. This coin is larger than that of the modern quarter. It is about 27 mm in diameter.  All large cents were minted at the Philadelphia Mint and have no mint mark.

Here are the different types of large cents:

  • Flowing Hair Cents, chain reverse – was struck only in 1793 and features on the obverse a bust of Lady Liberty with her unkempt hair and on the reverse features a ring of chains.
  • Flowing Hair Cents, wreath reverse – replaced the previous design but was also struck only in 1793. The front features Lady Liberty with a longer and wilder hair, and on the back features the wreath.
  • Liberty Cap Cent – was struck in 1793 to 1797. This design features a cap and “tamed” the wild hair of Liberty and faced her to the right. The wreath design on the reverse was changed to a laurel wreath.
  • Draped Bust Cent – was struck in 1796 to 1807. The obverse features Lady Liberty with a flowing hair tied with a ribbon and has a drapery at the neckline. The reverse design features an olive wreath.
  • Classic Head Cent – was struck in 1808 to 1814 and features Lady Liberty wearing a fillet (narrow headband) on the obverse.
  • Liberty Head or Coronet Cents – there are two types of coronet cents and they were struck in 1816 to 1857.

Matron Head, or Middle Dates – was struck in 1816 to 1839 and features the enlarged portrait of Liberty that was given a much more mature look. Liberty was also surrounded with stars along the outer edge of the coin.

Braided Hair or Petite Head, Late Dates – was struck in 1839 to 1857. The previous coronet cents were redesigned due to the negative reaction of the public, and gave Lady Liberty a slimmer and more youthful appearance.

These are all the types of half cents and large cents we buy. If you have a collection of these coins, consider selling it to us and we will give a good deal for your collection.

References:

  • https://www.coin-collecting-guide-for-beginners.com/half-cents.html
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Half_cent_(United_States_coin)
  • https://www.pcgs.com/coinfacts/category/half-cents/3
  • https://www.chattanoogacoins.com/Cents-Half-Cents-_c_10.html