This category includes Colonials, half cents, large cents, and hard-times tokens. When the United States was developing as a nation, these coins served as currency for normal, day-to-day transactions. Large cents and half cents were the first coins ever struck under the authority of the U.S. government by the First United States Mint in Philadelphia.
Half cents have the smallest face value of any coin ever struck by the United States. Both large and half cents are rare, in part because they were minted only intermittently between 1793 and 1857. In 1857, the mint stopped producing half cents altogether and replaced large cents with more manageable, smaller cents.
Hard-times tokens were issued during a period of financial crisis in the United States. Approximately the same size as the large cent, hard-times tokens were made of copper and produced by various private organizations during the depression years between 1833 and 1843. These hard times were the result of a crashing economy caused by investor panic and the hoarding of gold and silver during the presidencies of Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren.