Key date United States half cents begins with the early years and the Liberty Cap Type of 1793, with bust of Liberty facing left. This is one of the rarest varieties known, with only 35,334 coins struck for the entire year.
Creating a very expensive hole to fill in a half cent collection, this coin has deterred many from attempting to assemble a collection of these coins. This coin will range in the tens of thousands of dollars, for a middle grade example.
1796 half cents definitely make the grade as a key date coin. With a minuscule 1,390 mint number and those being split between the two types, pole or no pole from the cap, this coin is another deterrent from being able to accomplish the task of completing even a low grade year set of United States half cents.
Key to the year 1797 half cents is an example with a lettered edge, reading two hundred for a dollar around the edge of the coin. This variety can bring 20,000 dollars at auction in mid grade. Lower grades however can still be obtained in the thousand dollar range.
Keys for the series now jumps to 1831 half cents. New dies were brought in for this year and only proofs were struck for collectors. Mint records show the numbers coming in at 2,200 total coins minted, re-strikes are known to exist and demand half the price of the originals. Care should be taken as many counterfeits of this coin exist. Authentication is recommended.
This remains a very difficult area for coin collectors to be a part of as many examples are virtually unknown and others can cost thousands of dollars. A good way to get into these coins is to concentrate on the later types and fill that part of the series. Low grade examples can be had for as little as twenty dollars. There a beautiful coin and everyone should collect at least one key date coin.
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