The 1793 half cent is a rare and important coin in the numismatic world. It was the first copper-nickel penny struck by the United States government, making it an essential part of American history.
Its rarity makes this coin highly sought after by collectors, who have appreciated its beauty since its production over two centuries ago. As such, collectors are willing to pay high prices for a well-preserved specimen of this classic U.S. coinage.
In this article, we will explore the history behind the 1793 half cent and examine why this piece remains so popular amongst numismatists today.
Have you ever wondered about the history of the half cent? Well, numismatists have long been fascinated by this fractional currency.
As far back as 1793, the United States Mint began producing these coins to be used in circulation and commerce.
The size and shape of a half-cent coin varies depending on when it was minted; most were made from copper or brass with a few exceptions being struck in silver.
The obverse side typically features an image of Lady Liberty facing left surrounded by thirteen stars representing each colony at the time.
On the reverse is usually found something symbolizing freedom such as an eagle or liberty cap.
Half cents were produced until 1857 and their value today can range anywhere from $20 for a common date piece up to hundreds or thousands of dollars for rare varieties.
Despite no longer being circulated, they remain popular among coin collectors due to their historic significance and intricate designs.
Design And Specifications
The half cent is a denomination of coin that was produced in the United States from 1793 until 1857. These coins were made of copper and had a face value equal to one-half of a cent or 0.005 US Dollar. Although relatively small, these coins are highly coveted by numismatists due to their age and rarity.
Design-wise, the first half cents featured Lady Liberty on the obverse side with an inscription reading “Liberty Parent Of Science & Industry”, while the reverse displayed a wreath surrounding the words “Half Cent” and “United States of America”. Subsequent designs included variations featuring more ornate details such as stars, eagles, anchors, flags, arrows and even agricultural implements like plowshares and sheaves of wheat.
Specifications for the half cents include:
- Size: 13–14 millimeters (0.51–0.55 inches)
- Weight: 4 grains (261 mg)
- Composition: 100% Copper
These coins have been known to fetch prices beyond $10,000 at auction depending on condition and type year minted—a testament to their collectible appeal among avid numismatists worldwide!
Rarity And Value
The half cent is a notoriously rare coin, and as such commands an impressive amount of value. It was first minted in 1793 by the United States Mint and continued to be produced until 1857 when it was discontinued due to its low purchasing power.
To this day, many numismatists consider it one of the most desirable coins for collectors due to its historical significance. Half cents were made from either copper or copper-nickel alloys with two distinct designs during their lifetime.
The original design featured Lady Liberty facing left on the obverse side while a vine wreath encircled the words “HALF CENT” on the reverse. Later issues included a redesigned head of Liberty wearing a cap, surrounded by thirteen stars representing each state at that time.
In terms of rarity, half cents are among some of the scarcest coins ever issued by the US Mint; only about 1% of those originally struck survived into modern times. Therefore, these coins often fetch thousands of dollars apiece when they appear at auctions or other collecting events – making them highly sought after amongst serious numismatic enthusiasts.
Collecting The 1793 Half Cent
The 1793 Half Cent is one of the most sought-after coins by numismatists. It was minted during a period when fractional cents were still produced and used in daily commerce, making them valuable pieces to collect.
While it has been estimated that over 20 million half cents were released into circulation between 1793 and 1857, only 5 examples per variety are known to exist today.
Collecting the 1793 Half Cent can be particularly difficult due to its scarcity. Most of these coins have been heavily circulated since their initial release and may show signs of wear or damage. However, there are some mint state specimens that remain, with many in the finest condition available being graded as MS63 or higher. For collectors looking for an example in top condition, these are worth seeking out as they will bring greater value than those with visible wear on them.
For serious numismatists looking to invest in this rare coin, researching its background before purchasing is essential. Familiarizing oneself with its rarity and grading standards will allow them to make more informed decisions about which piece(s) would best fit their collection goals. Additionally, consulting reliable third party sources such as PCGS or NGC for expert opinions on authenticity and grade is recommended for anyone considering investing in a high-value item like the 1793 Half Cent.
The collecting of the 1793 Half Cent was quite a remarkable journey. As luck would have it, after months of searching and research, I had managed to procure one for my collection!
This half cent piece held an important place in numismatic history, as it was the first coin minted by the United States government. It is also noteworthy that this issue carried a unique reverse design which featured Lady Liberty with flowing hair encircled by 15 stars representing the original states of America at the time.
I believe there are several reasons why the 1793 Half Cent deserves special attention from collectors:
- Its historical value:
- It marks the beginning of American coins being made for circulation;
- This particular variety features Lady Liberty on its reverse side.
- Its rarity:
- Fewer than 1,000 pieces were ever produced;
- Most surviving specimens come heavily circulated and in low grade condition.
As such, obtaining a specimen that has retained some luster and minimal wear can be extremely rewarding! Not only does it represent early American currency but you get to own a tangible piece of our nation’s history—something no other coin can offer.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Did The 1793 Half Cent Cost When It Was First Issued?
When it comes to early American coins, numismatists often focus on the half cent.
This coin was first issued in 1793 and had an initial cost of one-eighth of a dollar, making it quite valuable at the time.
It is now highly sought after by collectors who appreciate its rarity and historical value.
Though minted for only 11 years, the half cent remains an important part of our nation’s monetary history.
What Is The Average Grade Of The 1793 Half Cent?
As the old adage goes, ‘a penny saved is a penny earned.’ This principle applies when assessing the average grade of any coin, such as the 1793 half cent.
Numismatists have to look at various factors like wear and tear over time and environmental conditions that could diminish its value.
Generally speaking, these coins are still in relatively good condition given their age; most specimens fall somewhere between Good 4 to Very Fine 15 on the grading scale.
So if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on one of these rare first-year issues for your collection, it’s more than likely going to be worth investing some money into!
What Is The Most Expensive 1793 Half Cent Ever Sold?
The 1793 half cent is one of the most sought-after items among numismatists.
In recent years, several specimens have been sold at auction for astronomical prices.
The record price paid was $840,000 in 2019 by a private collector for an S-12 specimen graded MS-65 Brown by Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS).
This coin had previously been part of the collection of Dr. William H. Sheldon and had not been available to collectors since 1988.
It has now become the benchmark for quality and desirability of this classic issue.
How Many Varieties Of The 1793 Half Cent Exist?
When examining the half cent, numismatists have identified multiple varieties within this coin. Specifically, there are six known types of 1793 half cents that exist:
- Liberty Cap Left (1793)
- Liberty Cap Right (1793)
- Chain America (1793)
- Wreath (1793-1797)
- Liberty Head or Coronet Design (1809–1836)
- Braided Hair (1840–1857)
Each variety is distinct in its design and composition, making each worth further examination.
Where Can I Find Reputable Dealers For 1793 Half Cent Coins?
For numismatists who are looking to purchase a 1793 half cent coin, there are many reputable dealers available.
Researching the background of any dealer before making a purchase is always recommended. With such an old and rare piece of currency, it’s important to ensure that you’re dealing with someone trustworthy.
Reputable dealers can be found at most major coin shows or through online auctions. It’s also beneficial to join numismatic forums as other collectors may have advice on where to find reliable sellers.
The 1793 Half Cent is a truly remarkable coin. Its rarity and historical significance make it one of the most sought-after coins today. It’s no wonder that collectors are willing to pay handsomely for this piece of history!
But with so many varieties, how can you be sure which ones are genuine? When buying an expensive 1793 Half Cent, it pays to do your research and shop around reputable dealers who know what they’re doing. After all, isn’t protecting your investment worth the effort?