The complete Classic Head Half Cent series is made up of only thirteen issues, with the 1811 coin being the second rarest date. However the 1811 Half Cent is considered to be the rarest circulation strike because it is eclipsed only by the 1831 proof-only issue. This valuable coin also comes in three major varieties, two of which are known as the “Wide Date” and the “Close Date” pieces. The third and rarest variety is the “Unofficial Restrike” that was struck using an 1802 die.
On the obverse of the 1811 Half Cent is a left-facing Lady Liberty with curled hair flowing to the base of her bust. She is wearing a headband inscribed LIBERTY and is shown above the date 1811. There are seven stars to the left of the image and six to the right.
The reverse features a fully closed laurel and berry wreath, which is surrounding the coin’s HALF CENT face value and a horizontal line. Encircling the wreath and denomination is the engraving UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
As previously mentioned, there are three major 1811 Half Cent varieties, two of which deal with the date situated below Liberty on the obverse. One variety displays a “Wide Date” that shows the numbers more spaced apart, particularly the first 1 in the date. The second variety has a “Close Date” and appears neater with the numbers in the date stamped closer together. Both of these varieties are scarce, but the “Wide Date” is slightly rarer than the “Close Date” coin.
Although produced outside the United States Mint, there is a third sought after 1811 Half Cent variety. It was struck by a man named Joseph J. Mickey and made using the 1802 Half Cent reverse die. When the Mint broke its dies, it would sell them as scrap metal to Mickey. After putting together the 1802 reverse die with a worn 1811 obverse die, Mickey was able to produce around twelve low quality 1811 Half Cents. This variety is known as the “Unofficial Restrike” and first appeared at an auction in 1859. As only about a dozen were made, this coin is extremely rare and much in demand.
The 1811 Half Cent featuring the Classic Head design is a scarce issue, regardless of variety or condition. It has a mintage of 63,140 not including the “Unofficial Restrikes” created by Joseph J. Mickey. Mint state and high grade circulated specimens are particularly rare, as are the three major varieties mentioned on this page.
By being the key date of circulation strikes, the 1811 Half Cent is a treasured coin that cannot be found with ease. Because of this, we recommend you seek help from a reputable dealer who can make sure you get your hands on this desirable piece in any of the major varieties.
For further advice or more information on how you can purchase 1811 Half Cents, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Capital Gold Group. If we don’t have your preferred issue or variety in our vault when you get in touch, our coin experts should be able to source it for you.