US Coins

New Fuhrman book explains half cent grading

The fifth reference in author Ed Fuhrman’s "The Half Cent Handbook" series is dedicated to grading.

Scanned cover of half cent grading reference.

Numismatic author and U.S. half cent specialist Ed Fuhrman has published his fifth reference  dedicated to the collecting of half cents, with the latest release dedicated to grading.

The previous references issued were devoted to a date-by-date analysis of all known U.S. half cent dates and varieties, as well as errors.

Fuhrman’s latest effort, The Half Cent Handbook: The Ultimate Grading Guide, measured 6.5 by 9 inches and covers 138 pages profusely illustrated with high resolution color images.

Fuhrman examines and illustrates coins according to Early American Coppers grading criteria, which are considered to be significantly more stringent than those of independent third-party grading services that grade and encapsulate coins for a fee.

Fuhrman also looks at the basics of net grading that is determined by taking the sharpness grade and deducting points for defects to reach a “net” grade.

The glossy softcover book has a ring binding to make it easier to turn pages.

The reference has a limited press run, with copies able to be reserved by emailing Fuhrman at

Copies of the new book are $30 each plus $5 shipping.

Collectors may also check with Fuhrman on the availability of his previous four book releases — The Half Cent Handbook: Liberty Cap Varieties 1793–1797; The Half Cent Handbook: Draped Bust Varieties 1800-1808; The Half Cent Handbook: Classic & Braided Varieties 1809-1857; and The Half Cent Handbook: Errors and Oddities.

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.

The 157-page hardcover reference, The Half Cent Handbook: Classic Head & Braided Hair Varieties, examines the Classic Head series from 1809 to 1836 and Braided Hair issues from 1840 through 1857.

Limited to a run of under 500 copies, the 182-page, hardcover book, The Half Cent Handbook — Errors and Oddities, examines all types of Mint errors, from minor planchet errors to major striking errors, all offered in great detail and illustrated.

Fuhrman has collected U.S. coins for more than four decades, with emphasis on half cents for the past 25 years.

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