Stone Mountain Memorial half dollar was designed by
Gutzon Borglum; the horse mounted figures represent “Stonewall”
Jackson and Robert E. Lee. Jackson is turned towards Lee
talking to him. Lee (in the hat) faces front, almost ignoring
Jackson. The 35 stars represent all of the states, North
and South, as of 1865. Above the stars is the motto IN GOD
WE TRUST. The words STONE MOUNTAIN are on two lines below
the horses’ heads. Under that inscription is the date,
1925. The reverse shows an eagle perched on a cliff. Its
stands upright and its wings are spread. Above the eagle’s
head in an arc is the inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
and below that in much smaller letters E PLURIBUS UNUM.
Below the eagle placed horizontally is LIBERTY and below
that is the denomination HALF DOLLAR. There is one other
inscription to the left of the eagle MEMORIAL TO THE VALOR
OF THE SOLDIER OF THE SOUTH in four lines.
The figures of Jackson and Lee are part of a huge procession
carved into the mountain by several sculptors including
Borglum, who also sculpted Mount Rushmore. The reverse inscription
was supposed to mention and honor former President William
Harding, but the then current president, Calvin Coolidge
objected, and Harding’s name was left out probably
because of the Teapot Dome scandal and other unpleasant
situations that were revealed at the end of and following
his term of office.
The Stone Mountain Memorial was a monument to the soldiers
of the South; however, the coin does not mention the Civil
War at all. Had it been known as a Confederate commemorative,
the bill would probably not have passed.
Although 5,000,000 coins were authorized, only 2,314,709
were struck. Of those, 1,000,000 were melted. The net number
distributed was 1,314,709, which includes assay coins. Because
of the large number distributed, the Stone Mountain half
dollar, along with the Columbian Exposition half dollars,
is the most easily obtainable of the early commemorative
Even rarer than the coins is the original packaging. Various
holders were used by the Stone Mountain Confederate Monumental
Association. They include a wooden box with a 15/16”
silver and blue star on the cover, a Christmas card with
a coin insert, a five coin insert holder, and sequentially
numbered paper envelopes for the first thousand coins minted.
The Stone Mountain half dollar was one of the three early
commemorative issues that were made to specifically deal
with a Civil War event. The others were the Battle of Gettysburg
and the Antietam half dollars.