1811 Classic Head Half Cent

The 1811 Classic Head Half Cent is considered to be the key date of circulation strikes, if the 1831 is not considered. The issue comes in two different varieties, identified by the spacing of the date. The mintage across both varieties was a combined 63,140.

Although equally rare, the so-called ‘wide-date’ is considered to be slightly scarcer than the ‘close date’. For date sets this difference is not much noted, although the two varieties are listed separately in the Red Book.

Circulated coins are sometimes available, but higher grades are rare to very rare, with uncirculated coins of this date seldom available.

There is an unofficial restrike of this date, produced outside the Mint by Joseph Mickley from dies sold as scrap metal in 1816. The obverse is struck from a genuine 1811 die previously used for the Breen-2 variety. The reverse, illogically, was struck from a die used in 1802, Breen-2. The first appearance of such a piece at auction was in 1859, and they appear to have been produced during that decade. While not a genuine U.S. Mint product, these restrikes are very rare and always in demand, with about a dozen pieces known.