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Confederate Coin
Confederate 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 28, 1861.

1861 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 also?”

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 it.

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 numismatic pieces.

CSA 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 Dime
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.


US Rare Coin Investments 2003 - 2016 U.S. Rare Coin Investments

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