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Half Cents

Half Cents were minted by the Federal Government of the United States from 1793 until 1857. While we classify these coins as minor coinage it would be incorrect to say that they played only a minor role in the economy of the young nation. While the buying power of the cent (and thereby the half cent) fell over time until it was nearly meaningless as a denomination these small denominations were imperative for a great deal of small purchases and for wages in the first 75 years after independence. Not only were private half cent tokens minted in the Hard Times period when the government had a temporary cessation of their mintage but half cent tokens were privately minted in great quantities after the denomination's final and official expiration just before the Civil War.

Official U.S. issuances of Half Cents were as follows: • The Rittenhouse-Eckfledt design was minted in 1793 • Scot's Liberty Cap design was minted in 1794 • Gardner's Liberty Caps were minted from 1795-1797 • Scot's Draped Busts were minted from 1800-1808 • Reich's "Classic Heads" were minted from 1809-1829 • Kneass's modified "Classic Heads" were minted from 1831-1836 (The Hulseman's Half Cent Token came out in 1837 when the Government temporarily discontinued the denomination) • Gobrecht's Coronet Heads resumed the mintage of Half Cents from 1840 until 1857 with none coined in 1852 and an assortment of restrikes were made between 1858 and 1860.

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