The 1831 Classic Head Half Cent (Buy on eBay) is somewhat of a mystery, and its status has been long debated. Some believe that this was a proof-only issue, while others believe that both proofs and business strikes were produced.
Mint records indicate a total mintage of 2,200 pieces, however records from this time were sometimes inaccurate or referred to coins carrying different dates. The small number of survivors include higher grade examples identified as proofs as well as circulated examples. Some claim that the circulated examples are business strikes, while others believe that they are circulated proofs from a proof-only issuance. Regardless of the true origin of these pieces, all survivors are extremely rare with approximately 20 pieces known across all grades.
The 1831 Proof Half Cents are also found as restrikes produced during later periods. The first restrikes were produced with a reverse die of 1836, an accurate die for the type but different than the original striking. The second restrikes used a reverse die of 1840-1857, which would have been used for the following half cent type.