Hello, Amy -- You have an old fashioned half cent with Miss Liberty's hair up in braids. Many collectors call these 'braided hair' coins, but the official name is coronet half cents. There are several other varieties of half cents, but they all have Miss Liberty and they all say HALF CENT. Click to this CoinQuest link for a 'classic head' half cent.
The coin in our picture is absolutely beautiful. It is in such good condition, its owner, respected eBay seller rpholdercoins, describes it as 'Monster Gem Brilliant Uncirculated flashy original', and rp is right! He has it on sale for about $600 US dollars, a decent price for such a nice coin.
Most half cents you see do not qualify for rp's Monster rating. They are normally worn, heavily circulated, and dark brown. If you have a specimen that has been nicely preserved over the years, collectors will pay a handsome premium to add it to their collections.
All braided hair half cents dated before 1849 are very valuable. They are worth at least $500 and upward of $5000 if in good condition. If you have one of these, you must have it authenticated, graded, and encapsulated by one of these services: PCGS, ICG, NGC, or ANACS. Look them up on the Internet. Do not use other services.
The 1849 half cent comes in 'large date' and 'small date' varieties. The large date, shown in our picture, is much more common than the small date. If you have a coin with an 1849 much smaller than the one shown here, it belongs with the very valuable pre-1949 coins described above. If you have an 1849 with large date, see next.
The Grey Sheet is a conservative price guide for US coins. Here is what it says for 1849 large date coronet half cents and all those dated after 1849:
worn: $18 US dollars approximate catalog value
average circulated: $26
well preserved: $46 (numismatic grade XF40)
fully uncirculated: $190 (numismatic grade MS63RB)
Use our Important Terminology page to convert these catalog values to actual buy and sell values.