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Classic Head Half Cent (1809-1836)

The Classic Head Half Cent is an early copper half cent that was produced from 1809 to 1836. It was designed by engraver John Reich and showed Liberty in a different style.

Compared to the previous designs for the denomination, the Classic Head Half Cent was issued for a longer period. The scope of the series was only reduced due to several gaps in production.

The design was first released on the large cent a year earlier but was only introduced on the half cent in 1809.

The obverse featured Liberty facing left with a stylistic head. Her new look has more masculine features instead of a smoother and curvier appearance. Her hair is flowing downwards in curls. She wore a headband with LIBERTY inscribed on it. Surrounding her are a total of 13 stars—7 to the left and 6 to the right. Below her is the date.Classic Head Half Cent (1809-1836)  sell coins near me

With the 1831 issue, the obverse of the Classic Head Half Cent was modified by William Kneass, a new Mint engraver who joined in early 1824 after Chief Engraver Robert Scot died. He created new punches since the old ones were already in bad shape due to irregular use and storage.

The newer version came out with the stars for the obverse side much smaller and more carefully executed. There is also a minimal difference in the lettering on the reverse side, with the letters appearing smaller.

The reverse side of the 1809 series showed a wreath of laurel leaves and berries, which is similar to the half cent reverse design but with multiple noticeable differences.

  • Instead of the ends of the wreath opened on top, it was fully closed on the Classic Head Half Cent.
  • A horizontal line was added under CENT in the HALF CENT in the center of the wreath. The line was heavily impressed on the earliest issues but weakened over time.
  • The wreath is still surrounded by the inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA but the fraction 1/200 is gone.

Between 1809 and 1836, a total of 3,637,912 Classic Head half Cents were produced. Mintage occurred on the following dates:

  • 1809 through 1811
  • 1825 and 1826
  • 1828 and 1829
  • 1831 through 1836

Between 100 and 200 proofs were produced, a majority of which are restrikes.

In the 1850s, during the heyday of coin collection, personnel at the Mint who had access to old dies made restrikes of the coins issued in 1831 and 1836. The extremely rare 1811 restrike was believed to be made using dies obtained from the Mint as scrap metal. It was Joseph J. Mickley, famed 19th-century collector, who obtained the dies.

Unlike other coins, it is possible to assemble a set date of the Classic Head Half Cent regular issues. This can be done in almost any grade. The more challenging dates, however, are the 1811 and 1831 issues.

1828, 1833 and 1835 are the dates that are most commonly seen in uncirculated condition. The colors of the Classic Head Half Cent ranges from light to medium brown.

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