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HALF CENTAVO BUSINESS STRIKES

Business strikes of the half centavo were minted just in 1903 and 1904. They're attractive little coins, but the small size worked against it -- as it was too easily lost. Because of that, the half-centavo quickly fell out favor and was discontinued after only 2 years of mintage.

Neither date is particularly hard. The 1903 is the easier of the two. A major dealer in the Philippine uncovered a two-roll hoard of the '03 half centavo about 10 years ago. He tells me that about half the coins were red, and that would explain why PCGS has slabbed 47 1903s as red; 35 of them gems.

By contrast, PCGS has only certified 6 half centavos from 1904 red; and only 4 are gems. No wonder the coin is murder in red. A US penny with only 4 red gems would probably go for $90,000 in MS66 red. But the US PI half centavo in 66 red, would go for $2,000 -- if you can find it.

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