US Philippines Half Centavo 1903

This coin is in AU58 to MS63 condition. It is unslabbed, but it compares favorable with a MS63 piece that I also own. It is also a brilliant, golden color.

On the obverse, a bare chested Filipino man is shown sitting next to the forge of freedom. The blacksmith is built like Adonis – with huge muscles  flexed in a spreadeagled pose. His elbow is on the forge, a Thor-like hammer is dangling from his right hand, and his left hand is on his left knee. The guy is staring off into the distance at  Mt. Mayon, an active volcano with smoke billowing from the crater. On the upper edge of the coin is the denomination “Half Centavo” and on the lower perimeter is the word “Filipinas”. The engraver was Melecio Figueroa.

The reverse design features an eagle perched on a shield with a two register shield. The upper register shows 13 5-sided stars in two rows. The lower register shows 13 vertical bars with stripes and solid bars alternating. This is the Seal of the US Philippine Territories (adopted in 1903). At the upper rim are the words “United States of America” and at the bottom is the year of issue. If it had a mint mark (this one does not), the mint mark would be below the dot to the left of the date.

US Philippines 1/2 Half Centavo 1903 Reverse
US Philippines 1/2 Half Centavo 1903 Reverse
US Philippines 1/2 Half Centavo 1903 Obverse
US Philippines 1/2 Half Centavo 1903 Obverse

Identification code: Philippines KM-162 (1903-1908)

Date: 1903

Mint Mark: n/a (Philadelphia)

Mintage: 12,084,000 (2,558 were minted in proof)

Country of origin: United States (US Philippines Territory)

Composition: Bronze (95% copper, 4% tin, 1% zinc)

Size: 17.5mm

Weight: 2.59g

Other details: This was the first year of mintage for the half centavo, and the mintage this year alone accounts for 68.1% of the total mintage of this denomination.

Estimated Value: $30-55 in MS61

4 responses to “US Philippines Half Centavo 1903

  1. I have this coin. Its color is brown. How do I tell if it is a proof?

  2. David > Good question. A proof coin is struck on specially prepared planchets and struck multiple times. It usually has a frosty appearance in the fields (blank areas) and very high definition elsewhere. If your coin is circulated and colored brown, chances are that it is not a proof. But, you may want to look at it using 30x or 40x magnification and look for evidence of multiple strikes. I’ve seen proof coins in VF30 (fairly well circulated), so it is possible.

  3. Found the 1903 1/2 centavo in coin return of bank coin counter. Fairly poor condition – I thought the coin read “half clamato”.

  4. Wow – that’s an awesome find!

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