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The E-Sylum: Volume 3, Number 45, October 29, 2000, Article 8


One of your editor's favorite coins is the Confederate Half dollar. A visitor to my web site wrote about a coin in their possession:

"It is an 1861 Confederate Half Dollar. Now please don't think I'm crazy, I know the chances are 5 billion to 1, if not more, but there you go. How else can you tell (other than weight) if it is a copy, and are the whereabouts of the real coins known? Why would someone make a copy of this? If it is a copy is it worth about 2 cents? Even if it is a copy, I learned a bit of history last night, and it was great fun. Thank you so much for replying, and if its real, hey; you can help us celebrate!!"

My response:

"Well, there are restrikes and there are copies. Copies are a dime a dozen, but the restrikes are actually collectible and worth $2,000 - $3,000. I had two at one time, but sold one.

There were only four originals made and all are accounted for, although I don't personally know the whereabouts of the fourth specimen. One is in the collection of the American Numismatic Society in New York, one in the hands of a St. ouis collector, and the Jefferson Davis specimen is in the hands of an Arizona collector. The fourth was sold to a private collector about 25 years ago. [Perhaps one of our readers knows its whereabouts - Editor]

The restrikes were made from the original dies by striking them on a planed-off 1861 Half Dollar. The diagnostics are:

  • 1. Lighter in weight than a real 1861 Half
  • 2. Reverse shows pitting from die rust
  • 3. Obverse is flattened from the blow of the reverse die.

Here's an illustration of the Confederate Half RESTRIKE in the ANS collection:"

Wayne Homren, Editor

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