US Coins

Market Analysis: Red color on half cents

The Garrison Collection’s CAC-approved MS-64 red and brown 1803 Draped Bust half cent sold for $36,000 on Jan. 10, and an 1855 Braided Hair half cent in PCGS MS-65 red brought $5,040 soon after.

Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions

Early U.S. copper coins with any appreciable amount of original red color are coveted by collectors. Those from the first decades of the Philadelphia Mint are rarely found with a full red designation.

The Garrison Collection’s 1803 Draped Bust half cent graded MS-64 red and brown by PCGS with a green CAC sticker that realized for $36,000 has much more red than often seen. Heritage wrote, “Light brown surfaces present full cartwheel luster with splashes of red mint color and dark speckled toning at the central reverse.”

The collector’s 1855 Braided Hair half cent in PCGS MS-65 red has brilliant orange color with just a bit of mellowing on each side and sold for $5,040.

PCGS uses red, red and brown, and brown color designations, with red coins having 95% or more original red visible.

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