|Value||5 milles (0.5 cents or 0.005 US dollars)|
|Years of minting||1793–1857|
|Design||Lady Liberty with braided hair|
|Design||Denomination surrounded by a wreath|
The half cent was the smallest denomination of United States coin ever minted. It was first minted in 1793 and last minted in 1857. It was minted with five different designs.
First authorized by the Coinage Act of 1792 on April 2, 1792, the coin was produced in the United States from 1793 to 1857. The half-cent piece was made of 100% copper and was valued at five milles, or one two-hundredth of a dollar. It was slightly smaller than a modern U.S. quarter with diameters 22 mm (1793), 23.5 mm (1794–1836), and 23 mm (1840–1857). They were all produced at the Philadelphia Mint.
The Coinage Act of February 21, 1857 discontinued the half-cent and the similar large cent, and authorized the small cent (Flying Eagle cent).
There are several different types of half cents:
There are no mint marks on any of the coins (all minted at the Philadelphia Mint) and the edges are plain on most half cents. On the 1793, 1794, and some 1795 coins and a variety of the 1797 coin, it was lettered TWO HUNDRED FOR A DOLLAR and another 1797 variety had a gripped, or milled, edge.
Liberty Cap, facing left
Liberty Cap, facing right
Classic Head (Shown at top right)