After topping out at 1,355 Proofs in the previous year, the mintage of Proof Half Dollars returned to a more normal number (975 pieces). The mintage of circulation strike Half Dollars in 1881 was also small -- a mere 10,000 pieces. Thus, any example of an 1881 Half Dollar -- Mint State or Proof -- is in high demand. Because the quality of the Proofs made in 1881 is somewhat lacking, it is difficult to tell a Prooflike early strike from a true Proof, therefore we recommend certification to confirm status. About a third of all Proof 1881 Half Dollars show Cameo contrast. Deep Cameo Proofs are extremely rare, in keeping with virtually all of the previous dates.