During the early 19th century, the dominant currency of the regions which were later amalgamated as the Straits Settlements, that being Penang, Malacca and Singapore, was the Spanish Dollar. Additionally Java rupees and guilders were often used in the colony but they had a reputation of having a silver content less than that of the Spanish Dollar. Because of this, in 1823 the government declared the Spanish Dollar the legal currency of the settlements but this left the colony without any lower denomination medium of exchange.
While some early trials were made, the coinage that eventuated as the first circulating coins for colony were the one quarter, one half and one cent coins bearing a wreath on the reverse with the legend EAST INDIA COMPANY and the date 1845 at the bottom despite the issue being stuck from 1847 to 1862. The denomination of HALF CENT is at the center of the reverse. The obverse features the Wyon Young Head portrait of Queen Victoria.
The Half Cent is slightly scarcer than the One Cent though more abundant than the quarter cent except if sought in higher mint state grades where the larger coin size tends to ensure detracting marks limit the grade. The issue comes in two types, the Sans WW type and the WW type, the latter having the designer's initials WW in the truncation of the bust. The sans WW type is the scarcer of the two types, especially if sought in high grades with very few high grade examples appearing at public auction in recent times.