Composition and Specifications

With the introduction of the Classic Head Half Cent, the official standards of the half cents remained the same. However, by this time the Mint was more successful in their production, with the coins being closer to their true standards than ever before.

All coins are struck with a plain edge, made from pure copper with a weight of 84 grains (5.44 grams). They have a diameter of 23.5 mm, with some very minor differences possible. When the Mint switched to more modern machinery in 1831, the quality improved even more. The 1831 and later issues of the series will be extremely close or at these standards. As all minor coinage during this period, all Classic Head Half Cent coins were struck at the Philadelphia Mint.

Coins with original Mint red color are sometimes encountered but are scarce without spots. Over time, most have toned to a darker brown color which comes in various shades, some of which can be very appealing. Various hoards have appeared since the late 19th century, and these account for the majority of coins which still display Mint red color.

Both proofs and circulation strikes were usually produced from the same pair of dies, and the difference between a proof on a less than average polished planchet and an early die state of a business strike on an above average planchet can be minimal. Quality of strike and overall eye-appeal will usually serve as the standard for identifying the rare proofs.