As the final years of the Half-Cent production dwindled down it was not uncommon to see several years with small mint numbers. In fact, many of these 1856 coins never even saw the outside of the Philadelphia Mint. It was clear that these coins were of little use in the system and often were only struck as proofs by this point.
It is possible that the low mintage numbers could be caused by the possibility for a banking downfall and the threat of Civil War. It was apparent that our national mint was in the back of our minds as the Union became exponentially divided.
1856 foreshadowed the consequences of overbuilding railroads and arbitrary financial laws as well as the necessity for an overall change in mentality. The once small Philadelphia Mint, where these half-cents originated, bore witness to severe banking over the 1800s, with the last being in 1857 and beginning with the suspensions of September 21, 1856. Furthermore, the first Republican National Convention, where the first republican nominee John Fremont was chosen, occurred in Philadelphia from June 17 to the 19th of that same year. It is said that in the Philadelphia Musical Fund Hall, talks of slavery abolition and strategies to win the presidential election were the main focus those few June days.