1848 Half Cents are a Proof-only date, meaning that none were struck for circulation. Perhaps as many as twenty Proofs were struck in 1848, but soon collectors realized these were rarities and demanded more. As a result, restrikes were made to satisfy this demand.
Conventional wisdom says that Originals show large berries on the reverse; Restrikes show small berries on the reverse. However, Breen claims that restrikes were made using the original, Large Berries reverse and that these can be identified by heavy repolishing of the obverse die and repolishing of the reverse die. Traditionally, these have all been lumped together as "Originals," but they will begin to be separated Breen's attribution system is accepted and as more and more coins are examined.
As might be expected of copper coins from over 150 years ago, most of the original 1848 Half Cents are brown in color. A small percentage are Red-Brown and only one example has been identified by PCGS as being full Red.
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