Numismatics with Kenny's Blog

26 Apr 2015

1840 Braided Hair Half Cent

Coins-United States | Numismatics with Kenny

Click on the link to view my video:https://youtu.be/IvV6r9zkvdQTo celebrate my 175th YouTube subscriber, I have chosen to create this video on a coin that is 175 years old-the 1840 Proof-Only Braided Hair Half Cent.The Half Cent denomination was first coin released by the US Mint in 1793, alongside the One Cent coin. The mintage after 1811 became sparse, with mintage in the 100s of thousands each year. From 1836 to 1839, there were no Half Cents minted.In 1840, Robert M. Patterson decided to include Half Cents in Proof Sets. Christian Gobrecht made dies for the Proof striking of these coins. Also, he finished the Half Cent hubs in case for a future need of this denomination. Gobrecht re-used the design he created for the Large Cent in 1839, known as the Braided Hair design.From 1840 to 1849, Braided Hair Half Cents were made specially for Proof sets, with mintage around 25 to 50, but in 1841 there were 100 made. When business strikes were resumed in 1849 (there were Proofs AND business strikes-identifiable by a large and small date), the need for these “Little Half Sisters” dwindled. There was no need for a denomination that small, so people stopped using them. Finally in 1857, the Half Cent was abolished.But the legacy of these little coins live on. The Braided Hair Half Cent has many collectors chasing the very rare Proof-only dates of this series. Books have been made discussing the whole Half Cent denomination with an especially large section devoted to the Braided Hair, such as Walter Breen’s Encyclopedia of United States Half Cents.


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