US Coins

Market Analysis: Braided Hair half cent is brown, but also gold and blue

The Braided Hair half cent type dated 1839 to 1857 closed out the denomination, which was first struck for circulation in 1793.

Proof coins within this series are enthusiastically studied, and Heritage offered an 1849 Braided Hair, Small Date, First Restrike half cent graded Proof 64 brown by Professional Coin Grading Service that realized $9,300 on Jan. 11 in a Heritage auction.

All 1849 Braided Hair, Small Date half cents are restrikes, made after the date on the coin.

Heritage praised this coin’s “brilliant blue and violet toning on the obverse, with blue and emerald toning on the reverse,” well-beyond the typical brown color that one might expect. When Stack’s offered it as part of the Samuel Wolfson Collection in May 1963, it was described 60 years ago as a “Gem blue and gold proof.”

The price in 2023 was an improvement on the $7,200 it sold for at Heritage’s February 2018 Long Beach Expo Signature Auction.

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