Ron Guth: The 1857 has the lowest mintage of any regular issue Braided Hair Half Cent. By 1857, the cost of producing Half Cents and Large Cents approached or exceeded the value of the coins. Thus, after 1857, the Half Cent was discontinued and the Small Cent replaced the old style Large Cent.
Mint State examples of the 1857 Half Cent are relatively easy to find, but only in the MS-63 and MS-64 grade levels. In MS-65, the 1857 Half Cents is a true condition-rarity.