• When you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to, the eBay Partner Network.

The persistence of half cents and half pennies.



I always thought of the half cent as something of the distant past. The United States didn’t produce any after 1857.


However, I’m increasingly aware of the fact that other countries have made half cents and half pennies of and on until relatively recently.

I have a set of Rhodesian pennies and half pennies from the 1950s and 1960s.


Finding out that these half pennies existed was surprising but when I think about it I can understand it. For a long time there the UK pound was worth at least or about twice as much as the US dollar. It looks like in the 1950s it might have been about 3:1. So having a 3 gram bronze coin that was worth maybe a little more than a US cent makes a fair bit of sense.

And this same logic can probably be applied equally to the later Rhodesian half cents of the 1970s that came after the UDI - same weight overall but smaller, and without the hole.


What I still can’t wrap my head around are things like the Argentinian half cents of 1985, released with the issuance of a new currency after their latest debt and currency crisis at the time. They only made them for 1 year, but, still, they made them – a half centavo. That 1985 date almost brings them into my lifetime.


I’m not sure what the newest / last example of a half cent or half penny to be made was – and we may yet see new ones in the future but it would appear that I was long wrong to view them as relics of the past, now gone.

I’ve been thinking about this and wanting to post about it for a while, but then my wife surprised me with my Valentine’s Day present a little bit early and she shocked me with an MS67RD 1955 Rhodesian Half Penny. A coin I was really happy to get as it leaves me needing just the 1956 for both the penny and the half penny sets from the Federation period. This also has me tempted to continue / expand into the 1970s post-UDI copper and keep building out a solid, more complete set of Rhodesian copper.


I was really thrilled to get this as it opens up making that half penny set competitive for the top spot this year, maybe joining the penny set and the Zimbabwea type set in winning this year?? Maybe? 

It does definitely nix the idea of grading that raw 1955 I showed pictures of in my last post. That other one looks nice but it is not an MS67RD and i cannot compete with this one. This one is gorgeous.


1 Comment

Recommended Comments

I see you collect foreign coins. I had about 30 lbs of foreign coins I just sent in to cash out. They don't give you too much but they are all modern pretty much. I got another batch started to cash in. Are there certain countries you collect? Canada, Britain and Euros they pay pretty good on. Whatever the exchange rate is. The little money I get for them goes back into my US coin collecting. 5 Centavos from mexico would get me .01 from the 1950's to 1969. $500 coin below would also get me a penny. If perhaps you could give me a bit more then them and postage I'd love to help you if you need any of them.I have kept the few silver foreign coins though I'm really interested in US coins.







Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now