The half cent is the lowest face value coin struck by the United States. Its minting was authorized April 2, 1792. Before the first coin was struck, the Act of January 14, 1793 changed its weight from 132 grains to 104 grains. Minted from 1793 to 1857 with various intermissions in coinage. The weight was again changed to 84 grains January 26, 1796 and the coinage was discontinued by the Act of February 21, 1857. All coins were minted at the Philadelphia Mint. Types minted follow: Liberty Cap Type, Head Facing Left 1793; Head Facing Right, 1794-1797; Draped Bust Type, 1800-1808; Classic Head Type, 1809-1836; Coronet Type, 1840-1857.
Large cents were coined every year from 1793 to 1857 except for 1815 when a lack of copper caused no cents to be produced. They were to be twice the weight of the half cent. All were coined at the Philadelphia Mint. Numerous die varities exist. Types minted follow: Flowing Hair, Chain Type Reverse 1793; Flowing Hair, Wreath Type Reverse 1793; Liberty Cap Type, 1793-1796; Draped Bust Type, 1796-1807; Classic Head Type, 1808-1814; Coronet Type, 1816-1857 (Matron Head, 1816-1835; Young Head, 1835-1857).
Small cents were minted from 1856 to date. The 1856 Eagle Cent was actually a pattern struck to show Congress how the nickel cent would look. It is estimated that 1000 to 2000 pieces were struck in total and all are collected as regular issues because of their widespread popularity. These flying eagle cents were minted from 1856 to 1858. The Indian Head Cent was first struck in 1859. An intersting note is that the "Indian Head" is actually a representation of Liberty wearing an Indian headdress, not an actual Indian. Types minted are: Copper-nickel, Laurel Wreath Reverse 1959; Copper-nickel, Oak Wreath with Shield, 1860-1864; Bronze, 1864-1909.
The 100th anniversary of Lincoln's birth was commemorated with the issuance of the Lincoln Cent designed by Victor D. Brenner. The Lincoln type was the first cent to have the motto, IN GOD WE TRUST. Wheat head reverse Lincoln Cents were minted from 1909-1958. Striking of the MEMORIAL reverse started in 1959 and continues today.
The Act of April 22, 1864 included a provision for the bronze two cent piece. Its composition was .950 copper and .050 tin and zinc. This short-lived series ws struck from 1864 to 1873. All coins were minted at the Philadelphia Mint.