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Half Cent - Draped Bust (1800-1808)

Specifications, Details and General Information

By , About.com Guide

Draped Bust Half Cent Obverse  Draped Bust Half Cent Reverse 
Obverse  Reverse 
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Image Courtesy of: Heritage Auction Galleries,
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Background and History

The Draped Bust design was first introduced in 1796 on the large cent. In 1800 the design was adopted for the half cent. These coins were struck with the Draped Bust design until 1808. However, no specimens were struck in 1801. One interesting variety was created in 1804 when a foreign object damaged obverse die right near Lady Liberty's chin. The resulting damage to the die created a spear-like projection from her chin. Since each individual die was carved by hand, there are many different and interesting varieties in almost every year the coin was produced. Unlike earlier dated half cents, most coins are most readily available in any grade desired due to several hoards of half cents being discovered over the years.

Coin Values and Prices:

Detailed Specifications

Issuing Government United States of America
Denomination $0.005 (Half Cent)
Coinage Type  Draped Bust
Mintage Dates  1800-1808
Production Facilities  Philadelphia
Mint Mark Location   No mint marks were used in this series.
Composition  100% Copper
Weight  5.443 grams
Weight Tolerance (+/-) n.a.
Actual Gold Weight  (AGW) 0.0000 Troy Ounces  
Actual Silver Weight  (ASW) 0.0000 Troy Ounces  
Actual Platinum Weight  (APW) 0.0000 Troy Ounces  
Specific Gravity  8.920
Diameter 23.50 mm 
Thickness  2.00 mm 
Edge Type Plain
Obverse Description  Draped Bust, Miss Liberty facing right, with flowing hair and a ribbon behind her head, LIBERTY above, and the date is below.
Obverse Designer  Robert Scot (post Gilbert Stuart)
Reverse Description  HALF CENT at the center, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and 1/200, wreath with a bow.
Reverse Designer  Robert Scot (post Gilbert Stuart)
KM# (Krause-Mishler Catalog No.)  33
Notes 

Most planchets are very porous and developed very dark (almost black) toning over the years.

Production Years, Mints and Types

The Draped Bust Half Cent was minted as indicated in the following table.  The table lists the years, strike type, mint facility where made, the mint mark used on the coin and a description of any type differences in coins minted for that year.

Year Mint Mint Mark Type
1800 Philadelphia
1802 Philadelphia 2 over 0, 2nd Rev.
1802 Philadelphia 2 over 0, Rev. of 1800
1803 Philadelphia
1804 Philadelphia Crosslet 4, Stemless
1804 Philadelphia Crosslet 4, Stems
1804 Philadelphia Plain 4 Stemless
1804 Philadelphia Plain 4 Stems
1804 Philadelphia Spiked Chin
1805 Philadelphia Lg. 5 Stems
1805 Philadelphia Sm. 5 Stemless
1805 Philadelphia Sm. 5 Stems
1806 Philadelphia Lg. 6 Stems
1806 Philadelphia Sm. 6 Stemless
1806 Philadelphia Sm. 6 Stems
1807 Philadelphia
1808 Philadelphia

Errors and Varieties

The following are popular errors and varieties that Draped Bust Half Cent collectors look for. These coins usually carry a premium and are valued above a common coin.

Year Mint Mint Mark Error/Variety Notes/Description
1808 Philadelphia 8 over 7

Mintage Figures

The following table lists mint production numbers for the number of Draped Bust half cent produced at each mint facility.

Year Mint Mint Mark Mintage
1800 Philadelphia 202,908
1802 Philadelphia 20,266
1803 Philadelphia 92,000
1804 Philadelphia 1,055,312
1805 Philadelphia 814,464
1806 Philadelphia 356,000
1807 Philadelphia 476,000
1808 Philadelphia 400,000

Suggested Books on Draped Bust Half Cent

  • Walter Breen's Encyclopedia of United States Half Cents, 1793-1857; Walter Breen; Publisher: American Institute of Numismatic Research; First Printing edition (1983)
  • American Half Cents: the "Little Half Sisters"; Roger S Cohen; Publisher: Wigglesworth & Ghatt Co. (1982)
  • Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins; Walter Breen; Publisher: Doubleday; 1 edition (May 1, 1988); ISBN-13: 978-0385142076
  • The Half Cent Die State Book 1793-1857; Ronald P. Manley, J.R. Grellman Jr.; Publisher: pub. By author; 1ST edition (1998)
  • The Cherrypickers' Guide to Rare Die Varieties, 5th Edition, Volume 1; Fivaz, Bill and J.T. Stanton; Publisher: Whitman Publishing, Atlanta (2009); ISBN-13: 978-0794822859
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