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Draped Bust Half Cent 1800 - 1808
Designer: Robert Scot
Diameter: 23.5 mm,
Metal Content: 100% copper
Weight: 5.44 grams
Typical (pop. 3,411)
"Draped Bust" Half Cent
Spiked Chin Example
1802 / 1800 Example
"Stem" and "No Stem" Example
Half Cents dated 1800 were the first to bear Scot's Draped Bust design. Liberty was based
on a drawing by Gilbert Stuart of Mrs. William Bingham. Stuart, perhaps the most famous
American portrait painter of his time, finished his sketch in 1795.
Determined to eliminate the existing Flowing Hair designs, Mint Director Henry William
DeSaussure promptly ordered John Eckstein to make bas-relief models from Stuart's drawing.
In Eckstein's hands, a proportioned beauty emerged as a distinctly full figured matron.
The new Liberty appeared on the 1795 dollar and on minor silver coins and large cents in
1796. It was not placed on the half cents until 1800, with Liberty above and the date below.
The new coins of 1800 continued with the existing reverse already in use.
Like the large cents, Draped Bust half cents also boasts many minor varieties. About
10% were struck on stock made from cut-down large cents rolled out by the Mint's
horse-powered mill, with the balance made in England.
The "Draped Bust" image appears on numerous coins, and was used for several
years. Many of these coins were used to make jewelry, which may partially
account for their scaresity.
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