1861 $5 (1861 Half Eagle) NGC AU55. Civil War Half Eagle. This Civil War dated 1861 Half Eagle glows with much remaining mint luster. Surface abrasion, light wear on the high points, and a few bag marks on Liberty’s cheek keep this coin from a mint state grade. The strike is weak on stars 1 and 2, and the central portion of the obverse, but it is strong on the reverse.
The Civil War Half Eagle was issued from 1861 to 1865. The Liberty Head No Motto or Coronet motif was used by its designer, Christian Gobrecht. Like the Civil War Eagle and Civil War Double Eagle, it is the Type 1 half eagle because the motto IN GOD WE TRUST was added after the War in 1866 (although there is an 1866 No Motto coin from San Francisco because the new dies did not arrive on time.)
In 1859, Mint Engraver James Longacre made a new reverse hub for the gold half eagle coin as he did for the eagle coin. It was used on Philadelphia issues from 1859 to 1865 and had shorter, thinner talons. This new reverse is seen on the present coin.
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