US Coins

Confederate coins on display at ANA convention

One of only four known original 1861 Confederate States of America half dollars and an 1861 Confederate cent, both formerly in the collection of renowned numismatist Eric P. Newman, will be among the numismatic items that the American Numismatic Association will exhibit during its World’s Fair of Money Aug. 14 to 18 in Philadelphia.

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The half dollar is graded Professional Coin Grading Service Specimen 40 and stickered by Certified Acceptance Corp. It is believed to have once been owned by Confederate States of America Treasurer Christopher Memminger and possibly CSA President Jefferson Davis. The coin sold Nov. 1, 2017, in one of the Newman Collection auctions by Heritage Auctions, for $960,000, which includes the 17.5 percent buyer's fee added to the final hammer price. In the Heritage sale the coin was offered identified as an impaired Proof, and was graded and encapsulated Proof 40 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. and stickered by CAC for being solid for the grade.

The former Newman half dollar is one of four examples struck in April 1861 at the New Orleans Mint while the Branch Mint of the United States was under the physical control of the Confederacy.


The Confederate cent, one of as many as 16 examples struck, is graded PCGS Gold 63+ and bears a CAC sticker. In the Nov. 1, 2017, Heritage sale of the Newman Collection, the coin was graded and encapsulated NGC Proof 63+, CAC. It realized $186,000 in that Heritage sale.

The half dollar will be insured for $1 million for its first public exhibition and the cent insured for $250,000.

The two CSA coins will be on exhibit courtesy of the anonymous owner of the Black Cat Collection and in conjunction with Legend Numismatics from Lincroft, New Jersey.

Memminger issued the orders for the Confederate half dollar production. Only one die is believed to have been engraved bearing the Confederate design. A standard obverse die for the 1861-O Seated Liberty half dollar was used as the other side of the Confederate coin. (The Confederate side is sometimes designated as the obverse of the coin, though some sources call the Seated Liberty side the obverse and the Confederate side the reverse.)

The origins of the Confederate cent are uncertain, though popular lore suggests that it was struck by Robert Lovett Jr., a private engraver and diesinker in Philadelphia, with or without the knowledge of the Confederate government.

Both coins were not discovered until years after the end of the Civil War.

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