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US Confederate Half Dollar  1861
US Confederate Half Dollar 1861

Well, Heather ...

Either you have a very valuable coin, or you have one that is worth nothing. How's that for narrowing it down?!

During the Civil War, the Confederate (southern) States of America issued only two types of coinage: a one cent piece and a half dollar. (See our write-up on the one cent piece at this CoinQuest link.) They minted very few of each, so if you have a genuine, original CSA half dollar, you have a coin worth tens of thousands of US dollars today. Genuine CSA half dollars are so rare that the coin catalogs do not even list an estimated value! The coin in our main is a genuine piece.

In addition to genuine coins, a man named J W Scott obtained the reverse die used to make the genuine coins during the late 1800s. (A die is a piece of hard metal used to strike patterns into coin blanks.) Scott used the real die to mint a small quantity of restrike coins. These are worth $3000 to $10000 today, depending on condition. The restrikes have only the reverse ('tails' side) of the coin as shown; the obverse ('heads' side) does not have the Lady Liberty design.

Virtually all the CSA half dollars you see today are replica coins. Replicas are completely different than restrikes. Replicas are worth about zero, a few dollars at most. When replicas are not precise and only resemble real coins, they are often called fantasy coins. A reader named Jim told us about his fantasy coin with two 'tails' sides, one with '1861' and one with 'HALF DOL.' Fantasy coins, like replicas, carry very low values. There may be a few fantasy collectors, but most coin collectors want real coins for their collections, not make-believes. See more info in the comments section below.

Rick Snow, expert numismatist of Eagle Eye Rare Coins in Tucson, Arizona, has a comprehensive article on Confederate half dollars on the Collector's Universe web site, located at this link.

US Rare Coin Investments in Port Charlotte, Florida, has a Scott restrike for sale.

The image of the genuine coin comes from the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection, courtesy of Stacks Bowers Galleries with locations worldwide.

The collection of images below show several comparisons of genuine, restrike, and replica coins. You can see minor differences between the designs of the replicas. The genuine and restrike pieces look the same, since they are minted using the same die.

(1) Genuine coin, essentially priceless (thanks to Stacks Bowers)
(2) Scott restrike, worth 1000s of US dollars (thanks to US Rare Coin Investments)
(3) Typical replica struck as a souvenir, worth zero
(4) Silver art round, worth its weight in silver (see this link)
(5) Replica with word COPY, worth a few dollars
(6) Another replica with COPY, worth a few dollars





Coin: 1114 , Genre: United States
Requested by: Heather, Tue, 25-Aug-2009 05:32:50 GMT
Answered by: Chris, Mon, 23-Sep-2013 23:10:44 GMT
Updated by CoinQuest. Appraisal ok., Tue, 30-Apr-2013 01:23:53 GMT
Requester description: 1861 confederate states of america half dol. on back of coin as well as ashield 2 branches of some sort. Front of coin woman sittin on a shield that has a liberty scroll she appears to be holding a flag maybe. there are 13 stars around the border.
Tags: us usa confederate half dollar csa confederacy doller dol dollars states state america well ashield shield 2 branches branch sort woman liberty scroll flag stars star border stated stets stato stado staate statehood tates sheild shiled shied chevrons shileld shild escucheon shelid chevron shields twigs sprig braches limb twig sprays sprigs branching branched sorts starrs boarder moulding bordering bordered seated seat cap hat wreath silver stool hood caps hooded drapery headdress ribbon stick rod staff flower fleur leaves leaf starburst coat arms rods blossom fler fleurs lises leis lisse flur folwers stems trefoils floral lily posy bouquet flowers flour fllower bud bloomed trefoil floret floer stem flowery lilys fluer fleures pedals leafs leave leaved leafed leafy leavs burst coats crests insignia crest creast

Comments

I have your coin #6, but the word copy is on the left instead of yours shown on the right. Is this one of mine worth more money? - Beverly
Good question, Beverly. The word COPY means that your coin is not genuine, but a replica or reproduction. (Counterfeit coins do not have COPY for obvious reasons.) Legal replicas are worth a few dollars, maybe $5 or so. The word COPY can appear anywhere on the coin, usually in an inconspicuous place. - CoinQuest (Paul)

I have a 1861 confederate half dollar, same shield design front and back, except one side is 1861 with shield and the other side is half dol. with the shield, found in the wall of my house in 1975 while remodeling. My deed states that a scott build my home and move to upstate new York. - jim shaffer
Jim, we're not quite sure what you have, but it sounds like a modern fantasy coin of some sort. I did some searches, and there are obviously a lot of replica 1861 Confederate half dollars out there, but I was not able to find one with the same shield design on obverse and reverse, as on yours. If you would like us to evaluate it further, please use the Contact link found at the top right of the Home page to start an email exchange with us. This will allow you to send us an image of your coin, which will be a great help in further determining its age and value.

Update October 15th 2014 - Jim has found images of similar fantasy replicas online. One can be viewed here, and another may be seen here. If anybody has any information relating to the striking of these, we would love to hear from you.
- CoinQuest (Chris)

Hello
My name is Ray Yarling perhaps you could help me with a little info. I have purchased a 1 tr/oz commemorative of the 1861 half dollar. It was purchased as silver bullion but I like to check to see if there is more to it than just a silver coin.

Here is a quick description. It dose not have stars on front and the back is only slightly close to the original. Instead of a shield it has 1 tr/oz silver .999. I was wondering if it was a private commission, or if any official commemoratives were made.

I would be very pleased to get any info possible.

Thank you very much. My e-mail address is .. address not published - Ray yarling
No, Ray. Your coin is called a 'silver art round' and is worth bullion value. They are wonderful collectibles and carry good value due to silver content. There are thousands of patterns. You CSA pattern is interesting, but it adds no value. We have a page on them at this link [Press Here]. - CoinQuest (Paul)

I have coin #3. Can you tell me anything about it? It is not the same on both sides. The front of mine has a mermaid.
That's a new one on us. A mermaid, huh? It must be a carved novelty coin. See this page [Press Here] for pictures of a similar piece. If the carving is good, collectors will often pay decent prices to buy such items. - CoinQuest (Paul)

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