Although gold and silver still took center stage in the 18th and 19th century monetary world, copper coins were dear to the colonial experience. Since well before the American Revolution, small coppers minted by official and unofficial sources circulated virtually everywhere in the Thirteen Colonies. The large number and variety of colonial coppers attest to how needed these coins were for common everyday transactions. When the United States Mint was established, the first regular issue coins minted were the copper cent and half cent.
When the Mint began making copper coins in 1793, they were still competing with private coin issuers. Mint record show that 1,076 pounds of Talbot, Allum & Lee 1795 cent tokens (about 52,000 tokens) were purchased in April of 1795 and were cut down to make half cents. As more coins became available for the stream of commerce, the lowly half cent ceased to have meaning as a medium of exchange..... (Expand Text)