Half Cent Types (1793-1857)
The smallest denomination issued by the United States was the Half Cent, made between 1793 and 1857 inclusive. Today, one might view the Half Cent as a useless denomination, but in 1793, when laborers toiled from sunup to sundown for $1 a day, half a cent represented a fairly significant amount of money. Compared to the Large Cent, the mintages of the Half Cent were far smaller for any given year. Many dates have mintages below 100,000 coins, particularly in the Braided Hair series from 1840-1857.