There was a time in the United States when merchants actually
needed to make change for a cent. The cost of some things was very
low and standard items like bread were bought in daily
serving sizes. So Half Cents were struck. It is the lowest face
value coin we ever made and it was never greatly popular so they were
only made in some years and in low quantities. This makes them a good
challenge for serious collectors. The denomination ended in 1857 when
the rise in industrialization raised the value of copper and the
prices of goods to the point that the coin was no longer needed and
no longer profitable for the government to issue. There are several
different types of Half Cents; the Liberty Cap Type (1793-97), the
Draped Bust Type (1800-08), the Classic Head (1809-36) and the
Coronet Type (1840-57).
Good reference works for this type of coin are The Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins by Walter Breen and Walter Breens Encyclopedia of United States Half Cents 1793-1857 by Walter Breen.
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