Classic Head Half Cent
Classic Head Half Cent:
John Reich was a German medallist and engraver who came to America, and he desperately wanted to work for the US Mint, engraving coins. Reich’s work came to the attention of President Thomas Jefferson in 1801 and Jefferson recommended that he be appointed as Assistant Engraver at the US Mint. By 1807, Robert Scot was now elderly, and everyone realized that Reich’s talents were being wasted by not designing coins. His first engraving mission was to redesign many of the coins then in circulation. Given this opportunity, Reich created a new face for Miss Liberty. She seemed older with her curls held back on her head by a band prominently inscribed with the word “LIBERTY.” The traditional thirteen stars encircled her, representing the original colonies and the date was inscribed below. The reverse of the coin remained much unchanged with the denomination in the cent, a wreath around it. The “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” surmounted the wreath.
By 1809, the half cent was losing its value as inflation increased prices for most goods. The demand for half cents was decreasing. By 1825, there was yet another shortage of coinage in the United States. The new Chief Engraver of the Mint, William Kneass slightly modified Reich’s designs but struck them until 1836. All 1831 dated Half Cents are proof Original and restrike issues and all are extremely difficult to find.