Collecting rare coins is a great way to connect with history, but many beginners are unsure where to begin. The half-cent coin, which was circulated in the United States from 1793 to 1857, had a short life as far as currency goes. If you are looking to start your own historical coin collection, acquiring a half-cent coin should be on your list of things to do.
Here are three things to look for as you begin your search to ensure you are able to find a valuable half-cent in the near future.
1. Year Minted
The year that a coin was produced can have a significant effect on its value. Avid coin collectors know that paying attention to the year a coin was minted is an easy way to determine how much the coin might be worth, and this rule applies to the half-cent as well.
Half-cent coins minted in the year 1793 can be worth up to $4,225 in the collector's market, while half-cent coins minted only a year later in 1794 are worth a mere $535. Paying close attention to the production year is an easy way for beginners to find the most valuable coins possible to add to their collection.
For a collector, condition is everything. Finding a rare half-cent coin in mint condition might be almost impossible, but it's important to be able to recognize the signs of wear that can reduce the value of a collectible coin. The American Numismatic Association has established universal grading standards that will help you determine the condition of a half-cent coin.
Be sure to find out if the coin you are looking at purchasing has been circulated, since the grading standards differ for circulated and uncirculated coins. Look for coins that are graded as choice fine or above, since these coins are in the best condition and carry the most value.
3. Type of Half-Cent Coin
While there are a few different types of half-cent coins available (the Draped Bust and the Liberty Cap, to name a few), the Classic Head half-cent remains popular among collectors. There were a total of 3,637,912 Classic Head half-cents minted, making them scarce among collectible coins.
The design on the coin's face was created by German immigrant John Reich, who struggled to rise to the position of Assistant Engraver at the U.S. Mint. Owning a coin with such historical heritage can be exciting, so look for a half-cent featuring an image of Liberty facing left, with her hair curled and tied back with a band inscribed LIBERTY.
Collecting half-cent coins is a great way for a beginner to get acquainted with the world of rare coins. As you search for your own half-cent, be sure to look for the characteristics that define a Classic Head coin, and pay close attention to the condition and mint year of the coin. These tips will help you find the most valuable coin possible.
To talk to professionals about these coins, contact a company such as Penny Pincher Coins & Jewelry.