thatcoinguy's Blog

06 Jul 2022

Half Cents: Building A 19th And 20th Century Type Set

| thatcoinguy

At one point or another during a numismatist’s life, they will want to build a type set. This is one of the most popular forms of collecting, and when done right, can be a pleasing and enjoyable collection for anyone in the hobby. This is the first part of a series I will be doing, which will involve me giving advice on building your 19th and 20th type set (NO gold), in order by denomination, and date. To make this a little more specific, there will be a maximum of $200 spent on each 20th century coin, and $300 on the 19th century coins. All prices are quoted from the PCGS Price Guide. Let’s get right into it!

For copper coins in general, especially when only buying a type piece, my biggest advice is eye appeal, eye appeal, eye appeal. There are good MS-65 Morgan dollars, and bad MS-65 Morgan dollars. This difference is way more obvious on old copper coins. Some are corroded, have large amounts of copper spots, and have various amounts of brown than other coins. Your job as a collector is to find the most pleasing coin for the grade(s) that you can afford. I would much rather own a VF-20 large cent that has pleasing chocolate browns and average surface marks for the grade than own an EF-40 coin that has corroded, and is a nasty shade of black. Just make sure you are buying the coin, not the grade. That’s all I have to say about that.

The first coin that will appear on pretty much any type set is the Draped Bust half cent. These coins were issued from 1800-1808. Pretty much any Draped Bust half cents are really nice coins, so definitely be willing to fork over a higher price for one with better details. You should be able to find a decent, eye appealing F-12 BN half cent as an example of this type for north of $250, to the cap I set for these blogs of $300. Most dates are sold for around the same price in the same grades.

The next coin would be the Classic Head half cent. This type was minted from the end of the Draped Bust design, 1809, to 1836. This type has a lot of details that are only seen on higher grade specimens, so it’s nice if you can afford an AU-55 BN coin for around $250 for a nice quality example of the grade. The dates that are cheapest in this grade are 1828 (13 stars), 1832, 1833, 1834, and 1835.

The Braided Hair half cent was the last half cent design struck, and it was made from 1840-1857. I would recommend another AU-55 specimen for this type, although I could see someone going down to an EF-40 just because you can still find a nice piece, and they are more than $100 cheaper. Your average run-of-the-mill date for AU-55 BN would be around $285, although I would pay a little more for a nicer AU-55 than your average coin. Dates around 1851-1856 are typically going to be the cheapest in AU-55 and EF-40

Keep collecting,




Level 5

Neat old odd denomination coins.

AC coin$

Level 6

Nice helpful information as usual. Great advice from a good teacher. Thanks.


Level 6

Great information! I have a type set going with many holes... ; ) haha


Level 6

Nice plan you have there. I like your reasoning. Sounds good so far so, "Stick to the Plan." Thanks.


Level 5

Type Set part 2 with large cents is coming out next week!


Level 7

Your advice will be worth it. You know what your doing and will help many learn how to do it! Thanks for the blog!!


Level 4

Definitely agree with the eye appeal comment. Rather have a lower graded coin that looks good, than a higher graded coin that look corroded or rough. Not into half cents personally, but I would concur it’s a good type set to collect.


Level 5

The 1/2 cents are a cool denomination. Good blog!


Level 4

I am a big fan of 1/2 Cents. I do like your comparison on the Morgan, to a 200-year-old Copper. Good Info.

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