US Coins

Market Analysis: Vibrant Proof 1846 Braided Hair half cent

Stack’s Bowers Galleries praised the “vibrant red-orange surfaces, intense glowing luster, and beautiful flashes of violet and magenta” on this 1846 Braided Hair half cent now graded Proof 65+ red and brown by PCGS with a green CAC sticker, that realized $19,200 on April 5.

Images courtesy of Stack’s Bowers Galleries.

The half cent denomination was struck from 1793 to 1857, as were large cents. Proof half cents are a specialty area characterized by both original strikings and later restrikes.

Stack’s Bowers Galleries offered an 1846 Braided Hair half cent, described as a First Restrike, Small Berries, Reverse of 1856 coin, graded Proof 65+ red and brown by Professional Coin Grading Service and bearing a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker at its April 5 Rarities Night auction.

No circulation-strike half cents dated 1840 to 1849 were struck, with Proof strikes being the sole representative of the denomination for the decade. Stack’s Bowers suggests that the restrike half cents were struck around 1858, or a bit later.

The offered coin is one of only four known examples of the First Restrike (as opposed to Second Restrikes, which were possibly produced even later).

This one previously sold at Heritage’s 2021 Central States Numismatic Society convention for $16,800, then graded Proof 65+ red and brown by Numismatic Guaranty Co. with a green CAC sticker. In its more recent offering it improved on that, realizing $19,200.

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