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About Half Cents

The half cent is the lowest face value coin struck by the United States. All half cents are scarce. This denomination was authorized on April 2, 1792. Originally the weight was to have been 132 grains, but this was changed to 104 grains by the Act of January 14, 1793, before coinage commenced. The weight was again changed, to 84 grains, on January 26, 1796, by presidential proclamation in conformity with the Act of March 3, 1795. Coinage was discontinued by the Act of February 21, 1857. All were coined at the Philadelphia Mint. There were various intermissions in coinage. During the period from 1836 through 1848, coinage consisted entirely of Proofs and in very small quantities, causing a very noticeable lapse in the series for most collectors. There are notable rarities in the series, including the original and restrike Proofs of 1831, 1836, 1840 through 1848, and 1852.

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