Prior to the start of the Braided Hair Half Cent series, the denomination had last been produced for circulation in 1835. The new series was first minted in 1840 but struck in proof format only for nearly a decade. The first circulation strikes would not be seen until 1849.
Mintage levels remained small when compared to earlier years for the denomination or when compared to the cent. Six of the eight circulation strike issues have mintages below the 100,000 level. The lowest mintage occurred for the 1857 half cent at 35,180 pieces. The highest mintage occurred for the 1851 half cent at 147,672 pieces.
Collecting the circulation strikes can be very enjoyable, as no real rarities exist, except in ultra high grade. Few coins are well worn, and AU+ or even uncirculated coins are within reach of most collectors. Combined with the fact that most mintages were limited and the reasonable cost of these pieces, the series represents a perfect set for the beginning collector of early copper.
Finding quality pieces, as is the case with virtually all copper coins is somewhat difficult, making this is a set which requires some time to find the right coins. Coins with Mint red coloration remain are rare and sell for large premiums, usually for high grade type set purposes.