Description and Analysis

Early US Type Performance
1811 50C MS

Description & Analysis

The half dollar was the U. S. Mint's primary silver denomination at this time, since dollar production had been halted by presidential order in 1804. Bankers preferred half dollars as vault reserves for their greater ease of counting, as compared to the lower denominations. The Mint preferred them, too, as the same value of coin production could be achieved with less work than in coining dimes or quarters. The result of this preferential coining was that half dollars were routinely struck in numbers exceeded one million per year from 1808-14.

The half dollars of this date are known with either a Large 8 or Small 8 in the date. The Large 8 is seen on only two of the ten obverse dies known and is a bit more scarce, bringing a modest premium in higher grades. A like number of reverses were employed. A fair number of unworn coins are known for both varieties, though certified examples are certainly not common. None of the 1811 die marriages are rare, but O-112a and O-113 are scarce enough to bring a premium from specialists. The one standout variety for general collectors is the overdate, which is addressed in the entry following this one.

As with most half dollars from this period, extreme die erosion and deep, multiple die clashings are not unusual. The dies were used until they failed, and this thrift shows on many of the surviving coins.