The 1796 Liberty Cap Half Cent is one of those coins that is truly treasured by collectors of all types. Whether it is due to the historical significance of the coin, or the beautiful simplicity of it, these coins are highly sought after. With all of this being said, there are only a limited number of 1796 Liberty Caps around, which means now is the best time to get your hands on one.
On the obverse side of the Liberty Cap the center of the face is dominated by the rightward facing image of Lady Liberty. Depicted with a bow in her hair, Lady Liberty appears slightly different than a previous edition in that she is looking off to the right, rather than the left. Above the central image you will notice an inscription which reads “Liberty,” while the 1796 year of minting is inscribed below. Around the very outer edges of both sides of the Liberty Cap you will notice raised notches, which give the coin a bit of added texture.
On the reverse side of the Half Cent, the “Half Cent” face value is inscribed directly in the center. Partially surrounding the central face value is a wreath that is tied together by a bow, or ribbon. Beneath the bow there is an inscription reading “1/200,” which is the coin’s value relative to a whole dollar. Arching over the entirety of the top half of the coin is an inscription which reads “United States of America.”
For collectors, the fact that the 1796 Liberty Cap Half Cent is counterfeited so frequently means that they must do something to thwart fraudsters. As a way of doing this, collectors will only settle for coins that have been graded and certified as being authentic. Below, we have listed the different grades as well as what they mean.
Uncirculated: A coin that is determined to be of Uncirculated grade is one that never made it out onto the open market. From the day they were minted, Uncirculated Liberty Caps were kept in safekeeping and avoided the damage that circulated coins incur.
Extremely Fine: If a Liberty Cap is determined to be of Extremely Fine grade, this means that it is pristine save for a few minor imperfections. While the coin may look to be in perfect condition, closer inspection will reveal a few minor flaws.
Fine: A coin that is determined to be of Fine grade is one that was circulated for a bit, but was taken out of circulation before too long. These coins will show some wear on the surfaces, such as scratching and smoothing. That being said, none of the imagery or lettering will have been compromised.
Good: Good is the worst grade a coin can receive and one that is indicative of a piece that has been heavily circulated and damaged. These pieces will sometimes be so damaged that their surface imagery and lettering will have been worn down entirely.
In terms of the price you might be asked to pay for the 1796 Liberty Cap, the first and most important aspect is the condition the coin is in. Because these coins are so old, very few have been extremely well-preserved, therefore the better condition the coin is in the more expensive it is going to be. Below, there is a chart aimed at giving you a better idea of what you might be asked to pay for a graded 1796 Liberty Cap.
|1796 Liberty Cap||$18,000||$37,500||$85,000||$100,000||Source: Red Book|