Copper half cents were the first coins produced in America, in 1793. Half cents were issued until 1857 in a variety of designs produced at the Philadelphia Mint. Half cents are slightly smaller than a modern U.S. quarter.
While all of the half cents in existence were minted at the Philadelphia Mint, the coins have no mint marks. The edges of most half cents were plain, although the edge of the 1793 coin had the words “TWO HUNDRED FOR A DOLLAR” and the 1797 version had a milled edge.
At the time, a skilled laborer made only a dollar a day, so half cents were a particularly important denomination of coinage. Based on the Consumer Price Index, the current, inflation-adjusted value of a half cent is 14 cents. However, to a coin collector and enthusiast of U.S. history, a half cent is worth much more.