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Obverse of 1812 Large Cent     Reverse of 1812 Large Cent


Circulation strikes: 1,075,500
Proofs: None

Designer: John Reich

Diameter: 28-29 millimeters

Metal content:
Copper - 100%

Weight: 168 grains (10.89 grams)

Edge: Plain

Mintmark: None (Philadelphia)

The following is reprinted with permission from Walter Breen's Encyclopedia of Early United States Cents 1793-1814, by Walter Breen, edited by Mark R. Borckardt

   The long-awaited planchets from Boulton arrived before May 9, theoretically 20 long tons or 44,800 pounds should yield 1,866,666 cents. The actual number issued by the time this stock was exhausted in December 1814 was 1,851,330. Part of the discrepancy is attributable to overweight planchets, as in earlier years and part to misstruck cents. No more blanks could be ordered during the War of 1812 because there was an embargo on shipments to or from England.
   All obverse dies of this year differ in treatment of the top lock. The two obverse dies with small date as in 1811 (thin center to 8) have narrow dential as formerly. The other two obverse dies have a larger date, as in 1813-14 (thick center stroke to 8), and broad dentils. Reverses continue to show narrow dentils, as formerly, through 1813.

Key to 1812
Description Sheldon Breen
Dash under E in ONE 291 1
Leaf under D below right side 289 4
Leaf under D centered    
Small date 290 2
Large date 288 3


Images courtesy of Ira and Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc.

Varieties (4):
Large Date
Sheldon 288 - Very Common
     Sheldon 289 - Very Common

Small Date
     Sheldon 290 - Common
     Sheldon 291 - Common

The finest "Small Date" Brown example graded by PCGS is a single MS-64BN.

The finest "Small Date" Red-Brown examples graded by PCGS are 2 MS-65RB's.

The finest "Large Date" Brown example graded by PCGS is a single MS-66BN.

Significant examples:
See variety listings

Recent appearances:
See variety listings

Sources and/or recommended reading:
"Penny Whimsy" by Dr. William H. Sheldon

"The PCGS Population Report, October 2003" by The Professional Coin Grading Service