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.
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
, 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 leis lisse flur folwers stems floral lily posy bouquet flowers flour fllower bud bloomed floret floer stem flowery lilys fluer fleures pedals leafs leave leaved leafed leafy leavs burst coats crests insignia crest creast
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)