Braided Hair, 1/2 Cent: 1840-1857


Quick Coinage Facts

Years Minted: 1840-1857
Mints: Philadelphia
Composition: Copper
Diameter: 23 mm
Weight: 5.44 grams
Total Mintage: approx. 599,850
Edge: plain


Designed by Christian Gobrecht the half cent had a composition of 100% copper. The obverse design depicts a bust of Liberty, her hair braided into a bun in the back of her head, ringlets of hair draping down below the base of the bust, faces left. She is wearing a tiara in which the word LIBERTY is inscribed. Encircling Liberty are 13 stars representing the original 13 colonies or states of the union.

The reverse shows a wreath encircling the denomination HALF CENT, with the inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA surrounding the wreath at the rim.

There are no mint marks as the Philadelphia mint was the only mint producing non-silver minor coinage during that time period so there were was no need.

General Market Notes

By the 1840s, the half cent had lost most of it's purchasing power and quickly became unpopular with most people. Being unpopular, few coins saw circulation which means for us as modern day collectors examples readily available and one can get a decent coin in a collector grade of fine or very fine for about $100.

Considering that the mintage for the entire series was less than 600,000 coins, one can't help buying at least one example of this clearly undervalued series.

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