C-4, B-4, Low R.3. EAC 50, PQ! Manley Die State 2.0, with the die defect atop the 7. This wonderful example of this first year issue has nearly ideal color over smooth, blemish-free surfaces with well-defined, full flowing hair. It's an impressively sharp and smooth representative of this popular single-year type. Chocolate-brown dominates both sides, with a glimpse of deeper brown toning present on the lower left obverse and central reverse. Liberty's cheek and forehead display a hint of friction, but the designs are exquisitely impressed aside from minor softness on some of the letters in AMERICA. Marks are minor for the grade, and the only identifiers are two faint, superficial marks behind the cap, and two blemishes of similar small size below and between AM of AMERICA. These are inconspicuous because of subsequent natural toning, and the quality and beauty of the piece remains irrefutable. Thomas Jefferson made the half cent the lowest denomination in the 1784 “Notes on Coinage” that he submitted to the federal government. Eventually, after much delay and Congressional inaction, Jefferson's proposal emerged as the Mint Act of April 2, 1792. David Rittenhouse, Adam Eckfeldt, and Robert Birch combined to execute the design of the small copper coin with Birch and Joseph Wright engraving the dies. By May 1793 over 30,000 copper half cent planchets had been prepared and on July 20 the Philadelphia Mint coined its first 7,000 specimens. Mint employees produced a further 24,934 pieces on July 26 and the final 3,400 examples on September 18. Having delivered a total of 35,344 1793 half cents, the Mint closed on the latter date so that its staff could flee Philadelphia and its annual yellow fever epidemic.
The Liberty Cap - Head Left design was used only in 1793 and, along with the 1793 Chain Cents, was one of the first coins struck at the U.S. Mint. Four die varieties, of roughly equal rarity, make up the entire mintage of just over 35,000 pieces. High grade pieces are very rare, as are coins with nice surfaces, perfect planchets, and original, chocolate-brown color. Demand for this date is very high because it is a first and only year of the type.
Cohen 1 - Scarce
Cohen 2 - Scarce
Cohen 3 - Scarce
Cohen 4 - Scarce
Baker 27 - Washington Head Half Cent
Sources and/or recommended reading:
"American Half Cents - Second Edition" by Roger S. Cohen, Jr.
"Walter Breen's Encyclopedia of United States Half Cents 1793-1857" by Walter Breen
Related collector organizations:
Early American Coppers Club
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