Half Cents – 1794 Half Cent Liberty Cap Head Facing Right- Large Head

The half cent coin was produced in the United States from 1793-1857. The half-cent piece was made of 100% copper. It was slightly smaller than a modern U.S. quarter, with a diameter of 23.5 mm (0.93 inch). Although it is the lowest face value coin ever produced by the United States, given nineteenth century price levels, it was approximately equal to a dime today, in terms of purchasing power.

Opinion varies as to whether or not this should be considered as a separate type or included in the 1794-97 Type. Q David Bowers in his book on US Type Coins (Whitman 2005) considers this as a single year type coin, so who are we to disagree.

Photos and descriptions used with permission and courtesy of Heritage Auction Galleries

Very difficult to locate in higher grades.

Nine different varieties are known for the 1794 half cent coinage, with six additional sub-varieties that are distinguished by either large or small edge letters. Few survive in Mint State grades.


Designer: Robert Scot
Mintage: 81,600
Denomintion: $0.005
Diameter: ±23.5 millimeters
Metal content: Copper – 100%
Weight: 104 grains (6.74 grams)
Varieties: Lettered (“TWO HUNDRED FOR A DOLLAR”)

Additional Resources :
Early American Coppers Club

“Unique 1873-CC dime sells” by William T. Gibbs, COIN WORLD, pages 3 and 80

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