Readers Ask column from Dec. 21, 2015, issue of Coin World:
In the fall of 1962, I replied to an advertisement in Coin
World for Robert Bashlow’s restrikes of the Confederate cent in
bronze for $2.50 and the half dollar in silver for $7.50. I sent a
check in to Mr. Bashlow and waited, walking day after day to the
post office for weeks and then months. My merchandise never arrived,
although he cashed my check. A U.S. postal inspector was called in
to find out what had happened. After almost five months, I received
my items. I got out of coin collecting almost 50 years ago and then
recently started in again. I have found the restrike cent advertised
on eBay, but have never seen the half dollar. Would you have any
information of the number of restrikes he made? Thank you in advance
for your response.
C. Hollander / via email
It is probably more accurate to call the Bashlow “restrikes” tokens
or medals since the pieces only duplicate one side of the original
1861 Confederate half dollar and because they were not struck by the
original die. The medals employ on one side the design from the
obverse of the original Confederate States of America half dollars
struck in 1861. The 1962 medal’s other side, instead of featuring the
Seated Liberty design of the original coin, features an
inscription-only design inscribed with the number of pieces
purportedly struck — 5,000 each in silver and goldine (a brassy
alloy), and 20,000 in bronze.
Examples of Bashlow’s Confederate silver half dollar medal have
appeared at auction, most recently in an Aug. 16, 2015, Heritage Auctions sale.
An example graded and encapsulated Mint State 66 by Numismatic Guaranty
Corp. realized $881.25. In October 2015, Numismatic Financial
Corp. was offering an NGC MS-69 example of the silver Bashlow half
dollar replica for a fixed price of $2,225.
From what I have been able to determine, it is unlikely that the
total mintages identified on the reverse were actually struck and distributed.
The goldine pieces were first sold at $4.50 and the silver ones at $10.
The Bashlow half dollar medals were produced in Philadelphia by
August C. Frank Co.