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Half Cents

Half Cents

The United States Half Cent coin was first introduced by the U.S. Mint in 1793, during the early years of the young nation. It was authorized by the Coinage Act of 1792, which was passed by the United States Congress and signed into law by President George Washington. The design of the Half Cent coin featured a bust of Liberty facing to the left, with flowing hair and a wreath on her head, on the obverse side. The reverse side displayed a wreath with the denomination “HALF CENT” inscribed within it, along with the words “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” encircling the wreath.

The coin was minted in copper, and its small size and low denomination made it a convenient form of currency for small transactions, such as purchasing postage stamps, newspapers, and other inexpensive goods. However, due to its small size and low value, it was not widely used in everyday commerce and was often considered an inconvenience by merchants. Over the years, the design of the Half Cent coin underwent several changes. In 1800, a new design was introduced featuring a more prominent bust of Liberty, and in 1809, the design was changed again to depict Liberty facing to the right. The Half Cent coin continued to be minted sporadically until 1857, when it was officially discontinued due to its declining popularity and rising production costs. Throughout its history, the Half Cent coin faced challenges, including issues with counterfeiting and debates over its continued relevance as a form of currency. Nevertheless, it holds a special place in American numismatic history as one of the smallest and shortest-lived denominations of U.S. coinage.

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