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    Description

    1861 Original Confederate Half Dollar, PR30
    Four Examples Struck, Ex: CSA President Jefferson Davis
    Only Coin Actually Struck by the Confederacy

    1861 50C Original Confederate Half Dollar, PR30 NGC. CAC. Ex: Jefferson Davis/Donald G. Partrick Collection. Weight 189 grains, composition 93% silver, 6% copper, 1% trace elements. For absolute rarity, historic significance, and shear romantic appeal, the 1861 Confederate half dollar is unsurpassed in the annals of American coinage. As coin collector L.L. Wilson wrote in 1915, this issue represents:

    "The only Numismatic Record of a nation of nine million people who maintained a precarious existence for the space of nearly four years and a half. There are very few coins today that can be said to rank in interest with this half dollar with its authoritative U.S. obverse and distinctive Confederate States reverse design. Such a unique combination of the official devices of two great opposing powers probably has not another parallel in history."


    Only four examples were struck at the New Orleans Mint in April of 1861, after that facility was "taken into trust" by the Confederacy. The coins were dispersed to non-numismatic owners at the time of striking and all knowledge of the issue vanished for the ensuing 18 years. All four coins eventually resurfaced over an extensive period of 110 years, but they were subsequently held tightly in important collections and institutions, and the opportunity to acquire a specimen has been almost as rare as the coins themselves. Heritage Auctions is privileged to present this iconic numismatic treasure, which was once owned by CSA President Jefferson Davis himself, in just its second public offering.

    Coins Struck at the New Orleans Mint in 1861
    Following usual mint procedure, dies for 1861 coinage were sent to New Orleans from the Philadelphia Mint late in 1860 and a considerable store of bullion was on hand to conduct business as usual when the new year started. As things turned out, the New Orleans Mint struck coins under the auspices of three different governments in 1861. From January 1 to January 26, the mint remained under federal control and a total of 330,000 Seated Liberty half dollars and 5,000 Liberty double eagles was coined. The State of Louisiana assumed control of the mint from January 26 through March 31, and a coinage of 1,240,000 half dollars and 9,750 double eagles was accomplished. Finally, the Confederacy officially took over the facility on April 1, and struck 962,633 half dollars and 2,991 double eagles before closing the mint on April 30, 1861. In addition, a program of Confederate coinage was briefly contemplated in April, and four specimens of the proposed half dollar, with a standard Seated Liberty obverse and a unique reverse design were struck to demonstrate the concept. These are the famous Original Confederate half dollars known to numismatists today.

    An account of the striking of these historic coins was provided by Chief Coiner B.F. Taylor, of the New Orleans Mint, many years later, at the request of General Marcus J. Wright, who was compiling the Confederate Archives for the Adjutant General's Office:

    "War Department,
    Adjutant-General's Office
    Washington, March 27, 1879.

    "Dr. B.F. Taylor, New Orleans, La.:

    "Dear Sir: The inclosed circulars will explain to you the nature of the duties upon which I am now engaged.

    "I beg to refer you to my friends, Generals Beauregard and Hood, and Captain Pierce, of your city, for my service in the Confederate army. I would like to have from you for file with the Confederate archives, a letter stating when and where you were appointed chief coiner of the Confederate States Mint, instructions received, copies of any original papers, sketches, descriptions, etc., of all the coins made, etc. This will make a valuable addition to Confederate history, and I know no one but you can give it.

    "Very truly yours,

    "Marcus J. Wright"


    Taylor replied:

    "New Orleans, La., April 7, 1879.
    "To Hon. Marcus J. Wright:

    "Dear Sir: Your favor requesting a statement of the history of the New Orleans Mint, in reference to the coinage under the Confederate government, is received.

    "That institution was turned over by the State of Louisiana the last of February, 1861, to the Confederate States of America, the old officers being retained and confirmed by the government, viz.: Wm. A. Elmore, Superintendent; A.J. Guirot, Treasurer; M.F. Bonzano, M.D., Melter and Refiner; and Howard Millspaugh, Assayer.

    "In the month of April orders were issued by Mr. Memminger, Secretary of the Treasury, to the effect that designs for half-dollar coins should be submitted to him for approval.

    "Among several sent, the one approved bore on the obverse of the coin a representation of the Goddess of Liberty, surrounded by thirteen stars, denoting the thirteen States from whence the Confederacy sprung, and on the lower rim the figures 1861.

    "On the reverse there is a shield with seven stars, representing the seceding States; above the shield is a liberty cap, and entwined around it stalks of sugar cane and cotton. The inscription is: 'CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA.' The dies were engraved by A.H.M. Patterson, engraver and die sinker, who is now living in Commercial Place. They were prepared for the coining press by Conrad Schmidt, foreman of the coining room (who is still living), from which four pieces only were struck.

    "About this period an order came from the Secretary suspending operations on account of the difficulty of obtaining bullion, and the Mint was closed April 30, 1861.

    "Of the four pieces mentioned one was sent to the government; one presented to Prof. Biddle, of the University of Louisiana; one sent to Dr. E. Ames, of New Orleans, the remaining one being retained by myself. Upon diligent inquiry I am unable to find but one piece besides my own, that being in the possession of a Confederate Officer of this city, who transmits it to his son as a souvenir of his father's service in the Confederate cause.

    "So soon as copies are made I will take pleasure in sending you a specimen for the archives you represent.

    "Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

    "B.F. Taylor, M.D.

    " Formerly Chief Coiner C.S.A."


    The above account is not accurate in some minor details. For example, the Confederacy did not officially take control of the mint until April 1, 1861, not the end of February as Taylor suggests. The engraver's name was Peterson, not Patterson, and Prof. Biddle is almost certainly a misnomer for John Leonard Riddell, who had worked extensively at the New Orleans Mint as melter and refiner and was the Postmaster of New Orleans during the Civil War. These inaccuracies can probably be attributed to Taylor's faulty memory after the intervening 18 years and mistakes in transcribing hand-written documents in the 19th century.

    Although Taylor reported lack of bullion as the official reason for discontinuing the Confederate coinage, this seems unlikely. The remainder of the bullion fund was evacuated from New Orleans in April of 1862 on the steamer Star of the West under the care of A.J. Guirot, before the city was recaptured by Union forces. The bullion was valued at nearly $1 million, enough to continue coinage for some time. The real reason for stopping the coinage was a combination of factors, including Treasury Secretary Memminger's belief that the decline in trade that followed the opening of hostilities would reduce the need for coinage. Memminger also believed the considerable expense of running the mint, paying salaries, etc. should be avoided, and the money used for other purposes. In the case of the Confederate half dollar, the real problem was more immediate and decisive. In a situation reminiscent of the Saint-Gaudens Ultra High Relief double eagles struck almost 50 years later, the reverse design of the Confederate half dollar was engraved in such high relief that the design detail could not be brought up with one blow of the regular coin press. This detail was reported by M.F. Bonzano (melter and refiner at the New Orleans Mint) in a letter to Mint Director James Kimball on November 4, 1887:

    "Under the auspices of the superintendent, treasurer, and coiner, who probably believed in the possibility of a peaceful secession, designs for a Confederate coin were made, and that of a half dollar by the coiner, accepted and executed by an engraver of this city, who produced a half dollar die of such high relief as rendered it impractical for use in a coining press. From this die four pieces were struck, by successive blows of a screw press."


    The "successive blows of a screw press" gave the coins sharp definition and deeply reflective surfaces, and most numismatists classify them as proofs today. Of course, high-speed coinage was impossible under these circumstances. Neither B.F. Taylor, who drew up the design, nor A.H.M. Peterson, who engraved the die, had much experience in preparing dies for coinage, as these were normally supplied by the Philadelphia Mint every year. A critical Patterson DuBois commented in later years, "In this, as in other matters, the Confederacy got beyond its proper depth. They therefore were struck in a screw press, a slow process relegated in this fast age to medals and master-pieces." Evidently Taylor forgot, or was embarrassed to mention, this miscalculation when he reported on the striking of the coins in 1879. In any case, the plan for a distinctive Confederate coinage was abandoned in April of 1861, the Confederacy itself fell four years later, and the long gray shadow of the Lost Cause obscured the coin's existence for a generation.

    The First Coin Surfaces
    On January 2, 1879 Pennsylvania coin dealer Ebenezer Locke Mason published an article titled Craze for Coins in the Philadelphia Record. Mason's emphasis on the high prices dealers were willing to pay for rare coins prompted a number of responses with offers to sell, or questions about, coins readers had acquired and hoped were worth a fortune, like the ones in Mason's article. One of the most unlikely contacts was Dr. B.F. Taylor, who was then the Secretary-Treasurer of the Louisiana State Board of Health. Taylor had carefully preserved his Confederate half dollar for the 18 years since its striking, never parting with it in hard times or publishing its existence for interested collectors. It may be that he was afraid of repercussions for his service with the Confederacy, or government seizure of the coin, if the circumstances of its striking became public. These fears were allayed in the more tolerant climate of the 1870s, by which time Philadelphia engraver Robert Lovett, Jr. had come forward about his role in making dies and striking the 1861 Confederate cents, under contract with the Confederate government. The cents were struck privately, unlike the Confederate half dollars, and Lovett apparently kept them well-hidden until 1873, for fear of federal charges if his part in their production became known. Captain John W. Haseltine successfully sold a number of these pieces and produced restrikes in various metals which he marketed widely. Lovett and Haseltine suffered no repercussions for their activities, and their financial success may have emboldened Taylor to reveal the existence of his coin.

    Mason was initially skeptical about the existence of any Confederate coinage and asked him for more information and a rubbing of the coin, which Taylor soon provided. Mason was then convinced about the coin's authenticity and published another piece detailing this new discovery in the March 11, 1879 edition of the Record. The prestigious American Journal of Numismatics picked up the story from this second article and ran an edited version in their April 1879 edition, making the issue known to most of the important numismatists in the country. In the meantime, Taylor had received Marcus Wright's inquiry from the Confederate Archives on March 27, and answered him on April 7. He must have let the local press know about the inquiry, because the New Orleans Picayune published the correspondence between Wright and Taylor on April 9.

    Amid this flurry of activity in the press, Mason took possession of both the Confederate half dollar and the reverse die used to strike it, which Taylor had also preserved over the years. Acting on Taylor's behalf, Mason embarked on an extensive advertising campaign, including a letter to the American Numismatic and Archaeological Society, which was read before the assembled members on May 20, 1879. Apparently, Taylor genuinely desired to place his coin with an institution that would preserve and promote it for its historic significance. Mason's letter offered to "dispose of a Confederate silver half dollar; also the reverse die for the same." Unfortunately, the Society responded with exactly the kind of reaction Taylor must have feared in the years after the war. The editor of the AJN urged:

    "... this piece, having been struck in the New Orleans Mint by government officers, with government tools, and on silver stolen from the United States, should be restored to its true ownership, and that it be placed in the Mint Cabinet."



    Rebuffed by the ANS, Mason took the Confederate half dollar on a whirlwind tour of the major coin dealers in New York and Boston. Traveling by rail, he visited such numismatic luminaries as Edward Cogan, Henry Chapman, H.G. Sampson, Charles Nichols, Lorin G. Parmelee, Henry Ahlborn, Henry Cook, W. Elliot Woodward, J.W. Scott, and the New England Historical Society. Mason's efforts resulted in a great deal of historical interest and admiration for the coin, but little in the way of financial reward.

    Meanwhile, canny New York coin dealer John Walter Scott wrote to CSA President Jefferson Davis, who he believed had received the coin "sent to the government" in Taylor's account. Davis responded:

    "Beauvoir P.O.
    "Harrison County, Miss.
    "May 10, 1879
    "Sir:

    "I had a Confederate coin. It was in my wife's trunk when it was rifled by the Federal officers sent on board the prison ship on which she was detained at Hampton Roads before and after my confinement in Fortress Monroe. The coin, some medals, and other valuables were stolen at the time. Whether the coin be the same which has been offered to you as a duplicate I cannot say. It is however, not true, as published, that it is now in my possession.

    "Regretting that I cannot give you more exact information on the particular subject of your inquiry, I am,

    "Respectfully,

    "Jefferson Davis"



    Convinced of the importance of the coin, Scott made Mason a "low-ball" offer for the piece. Mason, weary of the prolonged marketing campaign, finally sold both the coin and the Confederate reverse die to Scott for $310. Mason published the story of the striking of the coins and reprinted the correspondence between Wright and Taylor in the June, 1879 edition of his house organ, Mason's Coin Collector's Herald, and detailed his efforts to place the coin, including the final sale to Scott.

    John Walter Scott and the Restrikes
    After his purchase of the discovery piece and the reverse die, John W. Scott's efforts to promote the Confederate half dollar were even more energetic than Mason's. He published an article about the Confederate cents and half dollar in the June 1879 edition of the Coin Collector's Journal, outlining Taylor's account of the striking and mentioning his purchase of the discovery coin. Perhaps inspired by Haseltine's successful offering of Confederate cent restrikes, he decided to sponsor a similar program of restrikes for the half dollar. Since he had only the reverse die for the half dollar (Taylor had not preserved the obverse), Scott conceived the ingenious idea of using regular-issue 1861-O Seated Liberty half dollars, with the reverse design "drilled off," for planchets. David Proskey assisted in the difficult task of rounding up 500 examples from the original issue and filing off the reverse design. Each of the now one-sided coins was placed in the anvil position of a screw press, with the obverse padded, and affixed in a collar with a blank edge, after which the now-blank reverse was struck with the Confederate half dollar die. Inevitably, the obverse design and edge reeding were slightly flattened in this process, but the Restrikes are still convincing facsimiles of the Original 1861 Confederate half dollars, and have often been mistaken for the very rare Originals. Because of the planed reverse, the weight of a typical Restrike is about 185 grains, noticeably lighter than the standard 192 grains for a Seated Liberty half dollar of that era. The Original 1861 Confederate half dollars were struck on standard planchets, so their weights are close to the 192-grain standard, a reliable way to distinguish between Restrikes and Originals.

    Because the rim was crumbling slightly above the ER in AMERICA, Scott was afraid that the old, somewhat rusty, Confederate die would break during the striking process. So he would have at least something to offer if the dies broke while coining the 500 Restrike half dollars, he first produced 500 tokens struck in white metal, which he believed would cause less wear on the die. These tokens featured the Confederate design on the reverse, with an obverse bearing the inscription "4 ORIGINALS STRUCK BY ORDER OF C.S.A. IN NEW ORLEANS 1861 ****** REV. SAME AS U.S. (FROM ORIGINAL DIE, SCOTT).
    Scott began marketing the Restrikes through fliers in September of 1879, offering the coins at $2.00 each and promising to deface the die after 500 pieces were struck. He also offered the Original Confederate half dollar for a price of $1,000, but no takers were forthcoming. The tokens were offered at 50 cents per piece, and the cancelled die was offered for $50. Scott reported that sales of the Restrikes were brisk and he ran out of coins before the demand could be met, but Proskey later revealed that Scott maintained a large supply on hand for many years. The coins were all dispersed by the early part of the 20th century, and have become steadily more popular over the years.

    The Restrikes were often mistaken for Originals in later years, making pedigree tracking difficult because of all the spurious sightings in the literature. For example, coin collector L.L. Wilson wrote an account of his coin, which he believed to be an Original, in the August 1915 edition of the Philatelic West, with a halftone image of the coin and a provenance, making his case most convincing. Although the image of the obverse seems less flattened than the typical Restrike, careful comparison to the specimens known today reveals no match, and the rim above ER in AMERICA seems to show the crumbling seen on the Restrikes. In all likelihood, Wilson's coin was a better-than-average Restrike, which he mistook for an Original.

    First Auction Appearance
    With his restriking program completed and no interest in the Original at his asking price of $1,000, Scott decided to offer his coin in lot 163 of the John W. Scott Collection (Scott Stamp & Coin Co., 3/1882). The extensive lot description reprinted most of the earlier article from The Coin Collector's Journal, included a line drawing of the coin, and took up most of a page of text. P. Scott Rubin's priced copy of the catalog indicates a bid of $870 was received for the coin, but Scott was apparently serious about his $1,000 reserve, despite the fact that the offered amount represented a tremendous return on his investment. Scott retained his Confederate half dollar for many years, keeping it in a safe deposit box in New York City. He finally consigned the coin to Thomas Elder, who offered it in lot 552 of the William Lukens Collection (Elder, 3/1910).

    Elder provided a preview of the coin in the February 1910 issue of The Elder Magazine:

    "The beginning of the year 1910 will be well signalized in a numismatic way by the offering for sale next month in the Elder Auction Rooms of the only known specimen of the official metallic coinage of the Confederate States of America.

    "Coming from its resting place in a safe deposit vault, where it has lain for 28 years, this unique half dollar promises to create one of the greatest sensations of the year in the numismatic world, and, on account of its unusual historical significance, may go even a step farther and become a sensation of the lay world, which usually takes but little interest in a coin purely as such, but which is always intensely alive to any souvenir or relic that is so closely associated with the Lost Cause as this solitary specimen of its coinage unquestionably is."


    Elder's lot description in the Lukens sale comprised a page and a half of text, and he intended to provide a photographic image of the coin, but according to P. Scott Rubin's annotated catalog, the plate was never issued. Several newspapers covered the sale and the coin received a bid of $3,750, a staggering price for any coin at the time, $150 more than the Stickney 1804 dollar sold for in 1907. Unfortunately, once again, there was an unreasonably high reserve (reportedly $4,000) placed on the coin, which was not met. Thirty-one years had passed since the coin's discovery and, despite the best efforts of some of the most prominent coin dealers of the time, it had never successfully sold at auction. The coin changed hands in several private transactions in the following years and was exhibited at the 1914 ANS Exhibition by Edgar Adams. Toward the end of the decade David Proskey, who had supervised Scott's production of the Restrikes, sold the coin and the defaced die to J. Sanford Saltus for $3,000. Saltus donated the coin to the ANS, where it remains today. He reportedly presented the die to the Louisiana Historical Society, but that institution has no record of receiving it and its whereabouts are currently unknown.

    A Second Coin Emerges
    The publicity surrounding Elder's offering of the Taylor coin in March of 1910 must have worked to his advantage. Less than a month after the auction, Elder introduced a second Confederate half dollar to the numismatic community. This second piece was owned by Mr. Mark Jacobs, of Rondout, New York and, according to Elder's account in the April 1910 issue of The Elder Magazine, he had acquired it around 1880 in a roll of change from the bank. Elder purchased the coin from Jacobs two years later and sold it privately to prominent collector Henry Olsen Granberg. The coin later passed through the fabulous collections of Waldo Newcomer and "Colonel" E.H.R. Green, before being acquired by Eric P. Newman, via B.G. Johnson in the 1940s. The coin currently resides in the Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society collection. Experts believe the coin is the specimen presented to Dr. Ames after the 1861 striking, but the link is somewhat tenuous, and the coin's history between 1861 and circa 1880 (when it was found by Jacobs) remains unknown.

    Discovery of the Present Coin
    Anecdotal evidence suggests the present coin is the one presented to CSA President Jefferson Davis by his Secretary of the Treasury, Christopher Memminger, and later stolen from his wife's luggage by unruly Union soldiers. According to the minutes of the Washington Numismatic Society, a Confederate half dollar was exhibited by F. Mark Bream, of Cashtown, Pennsylvania at the September 12, 1936 meeting. Bream was an amateur historian of the Civil War and had written a paper on the Confederate half dollars, which he read to the membership. Reportedly, members examined the coin carefully and weighed it to establish its authenticity. Bream declared he had inherited the coin from his father, who said he purchased it from the Union soldier who appropriated it from Mrs. Davis after the war. Strangely, Harry X Boosel could not remember seeing the coin when asked about it many years later, although he was definitely in attendance at the meeting.

    Since the pedigrees of two of the four Confederate half dollars were well-established by 1936, and the fourth coin only reappeared in New Orleans circa 1971, experts believe the specimen Bream exhibited is the present coin, which can be reliably traced to a Connecticut woman named Alice Clark, who sold it to New York coin dealer Ted Schnur in 1961. Schnur believed the coin was a restrike and offered it to famous coin dealer John Jay Ford at the 1961 New York Metropolitan Coin Convention. It was late at night and Ford had little interest in purchasing the coin, as he already had four Restrikes in stock. Schnur had dealt with Ford before, however, and the two men came to an agreement after some extended haggling.

    What happened next is controversial. Some sources say Ford's friend, and sometimes business partner, Paul Franklin purchased the coin from Ford only minutes after he bought it. Franklin supposedly weighed the coin, and found it was too heavy to be a Restrike. He was persuaded to resell the coin to Ford a short time later for an immense profit, as Ford had been searching for an Original for a long time. Franklin engaged in many expensive hobby activities in the next few years, and researcher Karl Moulton (John Jay Ford and the Franklin Hoard) suggests the money he made from Ford may have financed his endeavors. Against this theory is Moulton's qualifier that Franklin's son told him, "This is not the version that Dad related to me!"

    Ted Schnur certainly did not believe the story. When he learned the coin he sold to Ford was an Original he became convinced that Ford had taken advantage of him, unfairly using his numismatic knowledge to purchase the coin for a much lower price than it was worth. It is difficult to believe that Ford did not immediately check the piece, as he wanted an Original badly and had been persistently searching for an example. The perfect reeding and unflattened (albeit slightly worn) obverse devices should have been a dead giveaway. Schnur brought suit against Ford in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, and he was later joined by Alice Clark, who had sold the coin to him. The litigation lasted eight years and was finally settled when Ford paid the interested parties 25% of the agreed-upon value of the coin.

    Ford retained this coin, which was one of his most prized possessions, until he sold his collection through Stack's in series of memorable auction sales beginning in 2003. Ford had an extensive collection of coins, patterns, and numismatic ephemera relating to the Confederacy. His Confederate half dollar was offered in lot 325 of the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection (Stack's, 10/2005), where it brought $632,500. The result was an amazing total for the first time any Confederate half dollar had actually sold at auction and purchaser Donald Groves Partrick deserves great credit for having the vision and numismatic knowledge to properly appreciate this outstanding piece.


    The Final Specimen Reappears
    The long-missing fourth example of the Confederate half dollar finally surfaced in New Orleans in 1971, a full 110 years after it was struck. New Orleans coin dealer James Cohen purchased the coin from an elderly man who brought it to his store. Cohen suspected the piece was an Original, so he showed it to Lester Merkin, a New York dealer. Merkin had the coin examined by Walter Breen, who pronounced it genuine. Merkin then purchased the coin from Cohen for an agreed-upon sum (one story relates that Merkin traded a full set of 1915-S Panama-Pacific coins, including both round and octagonal fifty dollar pieces in the original frame, for the Confederate half dollar). Merkin sold this fourth example to Henry P. Kendall, and it remains in his collection today. In the first account of the striking of the Confederate half dollars, B.F. Taylor mentioned that he knew of one coin "in the possession of a Confederate officer of this city" in 1879. That mysterious soldier was intent on passing the coin to his son, and it is possible that the family tradition continued for a few generations until it came to the elderly man who sold it to James Cohen in 1971. If the pedigrees for the other three coins are correct, and there is some room for doubt despite their wide acceptance, the Kendall coin must be the specimen given to John Leonard Ridell, the brilliant, but enigmatic, scientist and Postmaster of New Orleans.

    Significance and Description of the Present Coin
    The 1861 Confederate half dollar is the only coin officially authorized and struck for the Confederate States of America. Thomas Elder was correct when he wrote in 1910 that this coin has profound historical significance that extends far beyond the bounds of traditional numismatics. Historians, numismatists, and Civil War aficionados find this issue equally interesting. Among the four known examples, this coin claims the most illustrious history of them all. How many collectors have looked at their favorite coin and wondered if George Washington or Abraham Lincoln ever held it, or used it to buy a loaf of bread? The owner of this coin will know for certain that Jefferson Davis carried it as a keepsake for four years through all the turmoil of the Civil War. Its historical interest and charisma is unmatched by any other issue.

    This attractive PR30 specimen displays delicate shades of lavender-gray, reddish-gold, and cerulean-blue toning on the obverse, with a silver-gray center on the reverse that yields to pinkish-gray and amber at the peripheries. The design elements are unevenly struck, with much sharper detail on the high relief reverse. On the obverse, the letters in LIBERTY remain bold and much interior detail in the shield and drapery remains intact. Liberty's hair and bodice show some wear. The famous die crack from Liberty's nose to the rim is evident. On the reverse, only light wear shows on the design elements, with the vertical stripes in the shield and the two stars on the lower left a little soft. The surfaces are lightly abraded and faintly reflective, and a minor rim bruise shows at 10 o'clock on the reverse. This coin is the only specimen that has ever been sold at public auction and its illustrious pedigree is unmatched. A chance to own such an important piece of history should not be missed. Thanks to Stuart Levine and P. Scott Rubin for their help in researching this description.

    Roster of 1861 Confederate Half Dollars
    1. Proof. Chief Coiner B.F. Taylor of the New Orleans Mint in April of 1861; Ebenezer Locke Mason; John Walter Scott; John W. Scott Collection (Scott Stamp & Coin Co., 3/1882), lot 163, unsold; William Lukens Collection (Thomas Elder, 3/1910), lot 552, unsold; Edgar H. Adams, exhibited at the 1914 ANS Exhibition; David Proskey in 1918; purchased by J. Sanford Saltus along with the die for $3,000; presented to the American Numismatic Society on July 30, 1918.
    2. PR45. Possibly Dr. E. Ames of New Orleans in April of 1861; unknown intermediaries; found in a roll of change by Mark Jacobs, of Rondout, New York, possibly as early as 1880, certainly by April of 1910; Thomas Elder in 1912; H.O. Granberg; Waldo Newcomer; "Colonel" E.H.R. Green, via B. Max Mehl in 1931; Burdette G. Johnson; Eric P. Newman; Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society.
    3. PR40 NGC. Possibly John Leonard Riddell, Postmaster of the City of New Orleans in April of 1861; unknown intermediaries, including an unidentified elderly man in New Orleans; purchased by coin dealer James Cohen in 1970; Lester Merkin; sold to Henry P. Kendall on June 21, 1971. Photographs show an area of roughness left of the date.
    4. PR30 NGC. Superintendent William A. Elmore, of the New Orleans Mint; CSA Secretary of the Treasury Christopher Memminger; CSA President Jefferson Davis, stolen in 1865; unknown intermediaries, including an unidentified Union soldier; possibly the Bream family of Cashtown, Pennsylvania, reportedly exhibited at the September 12, 1936 meeting of the Washington Numismatic Society; unknown intermediaries; Alice Clark; coin dealer Ted Schnur; purchased by John J. Ford, Jr. at the New York Metropolitan Coin Convention in 1961; John J. Ford, Jr. Collection, Part I (Stack's, 10/2003), lot 325, realized $632,500; Jon Hanson; Donald Groves Partrick. The present coin.

    Coin Index Numbers: (PCGS# 340401)


    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

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