1831 Classic Head Half Cent

Some researchers believe that the 1831 Classic Head Half Cent was struck in proof only, although this remains disputed due to the mintage of 2,200 pieces, which would have been unusually high for a proof coin of the era.

The coins are found as original strikes which are extremely rare, or as restrikes produced during later periods. Restrikes can be found in two different varieties, identified by the reverse die. Those struck with the reverse die of 1836 use the correct type, but a different reverse than the original strikings. They are identified by the position of the high leaf under the final S in STATES. On the originals, the leaf will be positioned to the extreme right of the final S, where the first restrike has this leaf placed much more to the left, just barely under the S. The later 1831 Classic Head Half Cent restrikes used the reverse die of the next type, 1840-1857 and are easily identified as such.

Original proof strikings are extremely rare, and as previously mentioned may comprise all that remains from coins struck in 1831. There are some circulated pieces that have been graded as business strikes, but the status is heavily disputed. There has never been any definitive evidence found that proves the existence of a 1831 half cent struck for circulation.