Coins: Coinages of the Southern Confederacy (1861). In December
1860, the Secession Convention resolved that the New Orleans
branch mint should be "taken into trust" on behalf
of the Confederacy. The actual transfer took place on February
Confederate One Cent - The 1861
Confederate Cent was designed by engraver Robert Lovett, Jr.
of Philadelphia at the behest of agents of the CSA. There
were restrikes made by Captain John W. Haseltine, and Robert
Bashlow. The originals were made of copper nickel probably
using the federal standard for a cent. The weight is 4.67
grams and the diameter is 19 millimeters. Twelve to fifteen
are known. The obverse shows a portrait of Liberty facing
left wearing a Phrygian cap. She is surrounded with the inscription
CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA, and the date, 1861, is below.
The reverse shows an open wreath of cotton, corn, tobacco,
maple, and wheat, with two barrels and a cotton bale signed
L for Lovett encircling the denomination, which is written
as 1 CENT.
John Haseltine made restrikes
of the 1861 Cent in various metals in 1874. He made 7 gold,
12 silver and 55 copper restrikes. Haseltine obtained the
dies from Lovett, who was terrified that the Union authorities
would find out about the dies and sentence him to death for
treason. Of course if that were the case, he would be hanged.
One evening in 1873, Lovett got drunk and revealed that he
had made a copper Confederate cent. In retelling the story
of how he obtained the dies and coins from Lovett, Haseltine
said in one story that he had bought 10 coins from him and
in the other story that he had bought 11. He claimed falsely
“after the fifty-fifth impression the collar burst and
the dies were badly broken.”
Henry Chapman bought the dies
from Haseltine and made a mule combining a Lovett Washington
obverse with the 1 CENT reverse. The history of the dies was
unknown until 1961 when they were obtained by Robert Bashlow.
The obverse was unbroken and the reverse was cracked at the
1. Both dies had rust spots and chisel marks but were marginally
usable. Bashlow had a medalist firm make transfer dies from
the originals and struck large quantities in 1961-62 for the
Confederate centenary. These coins are called the Bashlow
restrikes or the Second Restrikes, Defaced Dies. In 1970 Bashlow
presented the dies to the Smithsonian Institution. He struck
3 in platinum; 3 in gold, 5,000 in silver; 50 in “nickel
silver,” an alloy with unstated specifications; 20,000
in bronze; 5,000 in “goldine,” a brassy alloy
with an unspecified composition; 50 in lead; 50 in aluminum;
50 in tin; 50 in zinc; and 50 in a red fiber. The restrike
may also exist in other metals. Probably 2 or 3 uniface strikes
also exist of both sides in gold and silver.
1861 Confederate Half Dollar
- The Confederate Half Dollar used the Seated Liberty federal
obverse designed by Christian Gobrecht. It depicts Liberty
seated looking over her shoulder to the left. She balances
the Union Shield inscribed LIBERTY with her right hand and
holds a staff on which is placed a Phrygian cap in her left.
There are seven stars to the left and six to the right interrupted
by her head and the capped pole. The date is below. The
reverse, designed by A.H. M. Patterson, a New Orleans engraver
and die sinker, shows a Confederate shield surrounded by
an open wreath of cotton and wheat tied with a bow at the
bottom. On a pole at the top of the shield is a Phrygian
cap. The inscription CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA is in
an arc at the top, and the denomination, written as HALF
DOL. is below.
Immediately following the Civil War, numismatists
did not know that the Confederate States had its own coinage
with distinctive designs. However, after the war, Dr. B.F.
Taylor, the former Chief Coiner for the Confederacy, retained
in his possession the reverse die of the CSA fifty cent
piece and four original coins. He kept this die secretly
in fear of being prosecuted by the Union for treason since
he supervised the manufacturing of the enemy’s coinage.
In 1879, he revealed in the New Orleans Picayune that he
had the die and an original coin. Ebenezer Locke Mason,
Jr., a coin dealer bought the die and coin and sold them
to J.W. Scott. When the editor or the American Journal of
Numismatics learned of the restrike, he said, “This
piece having been struck in the New Orleans Mint by government
officers, with government tools, and on silver stolen from
the United States, should be restored to its true ownership,
and then it be place in the Mint Cabinet. The obverse die,
we hear, was claimed by the government; why not the reverse
Scott, a creative entrepreneur, wanted to
promote and make restrikes of the half dollar. The die that
he bought was rusted and a piece of the border near ER had
been chipped. He didn’t think the die would last too
long; however, he used it to make 500 merchant tokens. Since
the die did not deteriorate during this run, Scott put his
original plan into place. He used 500 1861 federal half
dollars, some from circulation, and supposedly all from
the New Orleans Mint. With the help of David Proskey, a
New York coin dealer and cataloger for J.W. Scott and Company;
Scott held four coins on a brass block with the obverse
facing down and using a collar to prevent spreading, overstruck
the coins with the Confederate reverse. The result was not
particularly satisfying because the images of the original
Federal and the CSA reverses mingled. To ameliorate this
problem, Proskey planed off the reverses of the remaining
500 half dollars. They were then struck with the Confederate
reverse. The result was that the restrikes produced had
obverse flatness and unevenly struck reverses with weakness
often seen in the legend. The coins were also lighter than
the original by about half of a gram. After he struck these
restrikes, Scott annealed the die and used a chisel to deface
Since Proskey was able to take care of the
operations, Scott was free to begin a marketing plan to
sell the restrikes. He advertised that his offering was
oversubscribed; however, only a portion of the mintage had
been sold. Proskey later said that the remaining pieces
were in Scott’s inventory for many years. It was not
until the 1920’s that they were extensively distributed.
Modern copies of the Scott restrikes have
been made in the last sixty years. They are usually struck
in white metal or bronze and have little or no collector
value. Authentic restrikes made by Scott are highly desirable
Scott Token - 1861 Confederate Half Dollar - Scott Restrike David Proskey also helped Scott
repolish the original die to reduce the effect of the rust;
prior to striking the CSA Half Dollar, they struck 500 tokens
that were probably made from tin. These tokens had an advertising
message or store card for Scott with the following inscription:
4 ORIGINALS STRUCK BY ORDER OF C.S.A. IN NEW ORLEANS 1861
*******REV. [sic] SAME AS U.S. (FROM ORIGINAL DIE: SCOTT).
CSA Half Dime
A silver medalet of unknown origin was made that showed a
flag with thirteen stars and the inscription A UNITED SOUTH
with the date, 1861. The reverse depicted a cotton branch
with 13 stars. Made of silver, the piece was about 14 millimeters
in diameter and always holed. Only 8 to 12 are known. While
called the “Confederate half dime,” it was closer
in size to a three-cent silver coin.
CSA Jefferson Davis
This 18 millimeter silver piece showed a left facing portrait
of Jefferson Davis which divided the inscription JEFFERSON
DAVIS. The unknown designer’s signature C.R. is below.
The reverse showed a wreath with the date, 1861 within. The
inscription OUR FIRST PRESIDENT is around the upper half.
The piece has a reeded edge and is always found with a loop
or with the loop removed from the top edge.
CSA Beauregard Dime
The Beauregard Dime, which technically is a sliver token rather
than a coin, is similar in format to a dime. It portrays the
Confederate General with the inscription G.T. BEAUREGARD.
BRG GEN C.S.A. Below is the signature of the unknown designer,
C.R. The reverse shows an open wreath of laurel similar to
Federal coinage style. Within the wreath is the inscription
MANASSAS/21/JULY/1861. The piece has a reeded edge and is
always seen with a loop or with the loop removed.
The Wealth of the
South Token 1861-1865
This Southern Civil War token depicts the legend THE WEALTH
OF THE SOUTH, RICE TOBACCO SUGAR COTTON. The reverse shows
a palmetto tree in the center with glory rays, cannon and
cannonballs. The legend is NO SUBMISSION TO THE NORTH and
the date 1860 is below.
The token was designed by Benjamin True and struck in Cincinnati
by John Stanton. It was marketed in the South where its sentiment
was strongly favored. The philosophy was that the strength
of the South came from the land and its crops. The strength
of the North was based on man-made facilities and activities
such as banking and manufacturing. (Some odd mules were made
with these dies. One, for example, has Lincoln on the obverse
with the secessionist reverse.) The token occurs both with
and without a hole for suspension.