US Coins

Market Analysis: Lots of Mint red color unusual on 1800 Draped Bust half cent

In 1800 the Philadelphia Mint moved to the Draped Bust design which would continue in use until 1808. An 1800 half cent from Pete Miller’s set, graded MS-63 red and brown by PCGS with a green CAC sticker, has considerable red remaining on both sides.

Just one pair of dies produced the entire reported mintage of 202,908 half cents in 1800, and on all examples, the left foot of the letter T in LIBERTY is missing.

The offered coin appears to have been struck relatively late in the die’s production life when the die was well-worn, with the cataloger observing, “the end of Liberty’s bust is blunt, the word OF on the reverse is soft, and the denticulation is incomplete on both sides,” adding, “Most of the individual strands in Liberty’s hair are distinct, as is the interior of most of the leaves in the wreath.”

No 1801 and 1802 half cents are scarce, but few half cents from this first year of the new design type have survived with this much original mint red. Stack’s Bowers describes the rich color as follows: “This is a predominantly pinkish-orange example with blushes of light gray-brown iridescence scattered about. A few swirls of slightly warmer toning are evident at Liberty’s shoulder and near the upper reverse border.”

The handsome type coin sold for $12,000.


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