– Braided Hair Half Cent (1840-1857)

The Braided Hair Half Cent is a coin produced by the United States Mint from 1840 to 1857. It represents the final iteration of the half cent denomination before it was discontinued. Here's an overview of the Braided Hair Half Cent: 

Design: The obverse (front) of the coin features a left-facing bust of Lady Liberty, with her hair intricately braided and tied with a ribbon. The word "Liberty" is inscribed on the band encircling her head. 

Designer: The design of the Braided Hair Half Cent is attributed to Christian Gobrecht, the Chief Engraver of the United States Mint at the time. Gobrecht's depiction of Lady Liberty on the coin reflects the neoclassical style prevalent in mid-19th-century American art, with its emphasis on classical motifs and graceful proportions. 

Metal Composition: Like its predecessors, the Braided Hair Half Cent was struck in copper. Copper remained the primary metal used for U.S. coinage during this time period due to its availability and suitability for coin production. 

Mintage: The mintage numbers for the Braided Hair Half Cent varied from year to year, influenced by factors such as demand for small denomination coins, economic conditions, and technological advancements in coin production.  

Historical Context: The Braided Hair Half Cent was minted during a period of significant change and upheaval in the United States. The mid-19th century saw the country grappling with issues such as westward expansion, industrialization, and sectional tensions that would ultimately lead to the Civil War.  

Collector's Value: Due to their age, historical significance, and limited mintage numbers, Braided Hair Half Cents are highly sought after by coin collectors and numismatists. Coins in good condition, particularly those with rare varieties or minting errors, can command high prices on the numismatic market. 

Legacy: The Braided Hair Half Cent represents the end of an era for the half cent denomination in the United States. In 1857, the Mint Act of 1857 abolished the half cent coin due to declining use and rising production costs. 

Today, these coins serve as tangible reminders of America's numismatic heritage, valued for their historical significance, artistic beauty, and collectible appeal. 

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