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STONE MOUNTAIN HALF DOLLAR

The 1925 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 series.

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.

Half Dollars



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