US Coins

Bashlow 'restrike' Confederate half dollar tokens

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.

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