Judd-177 was an interesting experiment in 1856 to determine the feasibility of using a mixture of 88% copper and 12% nickel to strike Cents in a smaller format. This was done before July 15, 1856 at the same time that Large Cents were still being produced in copper, and there was not yet such a thing as a Small Cent. Mint employees made some Half Cents in the proposed alloy using 1856-dated dies already on hand; fifty of those were delivered for examination. The experiment succeeded and the law was changed to accept the new alloy, resulting in the 1856 Flying Eagle Cent patterns and a whole new size, shape and color for the One Cent pieces.
All of the Judd-177s are weakly struck, especially on the outer borders, the rims and the high points on both sides. They exhibit a color that is much different than that of the copper Half Cents. Many show streaks of varying color that resulted from an improper mixing of the alloy.
Though the exact mintage is unknown, perhaps as many as 75-100 pieces have survived. The best example is the PCGS PR66 from the Simpson Collection (illustrated above).