Braided Hair Cent: 1839-1857


Quick Coinage Facts

Years Minted: 1839-1857
Mints: Philadelphia
Composition: Copper
Diameter: 27.5 mm
Weight: 10.89 grams
Total Mintage: approx. 74,045,464
Edge: Smooth


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 large cent had lost some of it's purchasing power Americans were tired of toting around the rather larger coins which also tended to stain gloves due to the coin being pure copper. Being unpopular, few coins saw circulation which means for us as modern day collectors examples are readily available and one can get a decent coin in a collector grade of fine or very fine for about $50.

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