Most people outside of the numismatic community are unaware of the United States half cent.
Produced from 1793 to 1857, it is a coin that almost everyone alive today would have used in commerce.
Some people might find it difficult to imagine how a coin as small as the half cent would have operated in circulation.
This is especially true considering the low denomination, especially by today's standards, which have been distorted by more than 150 years of inflation and shifting cultural norms.
Half cents are made of pure copper, and during their prime, they had sufficient purchasing power to be meaningful,
especially considering that, in many regions of the United States, during the early 19th century, laborers were earning between 50 cents and $1 per day.
Eventually, inflation took hold, and as time passed, the value of the half cent decreased.
With the passage of the Coinage Act of 1857, a body of laws that also permitted the small cent to take the place of the large cent, the half cent was deemed to be too valuable to continue in circulation (due to inflation and rising copper costs).
Despite the half cent's long-standing obsolescence as a coin, its value as a collectible has only grown over time.
In general, half cents are considered to be scarce to rare, and those that are flawless and have the original surfaces are highly sought after.