Braided Hair Half Cent

Obverse of 1855 Half Cent
Reverse of 1855 Half Cent

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Ron Guth: The Braided Hair half cents boast some of the lowest mintages of any U.S. coin types. Some collectors, especially those who have an affinity for this denomination, believe they are among the best values, as well. From 1840 to 1849, only proof examples were struck, thus the first circulation strikes did not appear until 1849. The highest mintage of the series is the mere 147,672 half cents made in 1851; most other mintages are around 50,000 coins or less. Apart from the Proofs, all dates can be found with ease, often in high grade. Full Red examples are very scarce. 1852 half cents are known only in proof condition and the so-called "Originals" of this date are exceedingly rare. The Proof-only half cents of 1840-1849 are found as "Originals" (Large Berries), "First Restrikes" (Small Berries), and "Second Restrikes" (Small Berries, different reverse). In 1857, the half cent denomination was officially abolished.

Sources and/or recommended reading:
"American Half Cents - The 'Little Half Sisters' (Second Edition)" by Roger S. Cohen, Jr.

"Walter Breen's Encyclopedia of United States Half Cents 1793-1857" by Walter Breen