US Coins

Draped Bust half cents volume starts series of new books

A Cohen 1 variety of 1804 Draped Bust half cent was the coin that prompted Ed Fuhrman’s pursuit of researching and writing his book series.

Images from The Half Cent Handbook: Draped Bust Varieties 1800-1808.

Numismatic researcher Ed Fuhrman, who has collected United States coins for more than four decades, with emphasis on half cents for the past 25 years, has self-published the first in a planned four-volume series of hard-cover references on U.S. half cents.

The Half Cent Handbook: Draped Bust Varieties 1800–1808 focuses on the series designed by first chief engraver of the United States Mint, Robert Scot. A native of Scotland, Scot was first known for engraving bank notes before turning to coins.

Copper specialists are familiar with the primary work on U.S. half cents, American Half Cents: The “Little Half Sisters,” by Roger S. Cohen Jr., published in 1971. Half cent varieties attributed by Cohen numbers are carried over into Fuhrman’s works for continuity.

The first printing of Fuhrman’s first volume is limited to 100 hard-cover copies, each spanning 177 pages. The book is available from Fuhrman for $105, which includes shipping. Copies can be purchased from the author by emailing him at

Fuhrman can also be contacted via Facebook with a simple search of his name.

Fuhrman also administrates the largest Half Cents Facebook group in the country. The group is for discussion and learning only — no open buying or selling of coins is permitted — and currently boasts 550 members. He can be reached through the group at

Fuhrman said the intention for his reference series is to bring accessible information to collectors at all levels of interest in U.S. copper coins.

Fuhrman, who has collected coins for 47 years, is nearing completion of the second volume in the series, concentrating on Classic Head and Braided Hair half cents. The second book is being targeted for release later in 2021.

Volume 3 will focus on the varieties of Liberty Cap half cents from 1793 to 1797, with Volume 4 centered on half cent Mint errors.

“Many new things have been discovered in the past couple of decades,” Fuhrman said. “New die states have been discovered. New finest known examples have come to light.”

First volume

The Half Cent Handbook: Draped Bust Varieties 1800–1808 contains updated information on die varieties, die states, and rarity ratings.

“It is designed to be the most user-friendly attribution, grading, and cherry picking guide ever produced for Draped Bust half cents,” according to Fuhrman. “Beginners and advanced collectors alike will benefit from the information in this book. My goal with this series of books is to bring half cents into the mainstream.

“Early copper coins can be a challenge to learn. I find that collectors often feel intimidated by how complex these coins seem to be and tend to shy away from them. This book is designed to lift the veil of mystery that surrounds these coins and to make them fun and accessible to everyone.

“The book also contains stories about some of my better coin discoveries. The book is an easy and fun read even for the non-numismatist.”

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