Rare 1861 Confederate States of America Cent
1861 Confederate States of America Cent PR65 Red and Brown PCGS.
CAC. Copper 1874 Haseltine Restrike, Breen-8008, R.5. The
important and rare Confederate States of America restrike cents
produced in the mid-19th century by John W. Haseltine must
not be confused with the later -- much later -- restrikes
produced by Robert Bashlow, coins that have heavy die cancellation
marks on them.
Haseltine Restrike of 1874, PR65 Red and Brown
Struck in Copper From Original Robert Lovett Dies
This Gem Red and Brown PCGS-certified example is yet more important, as one of the finest in color and grade that that service has graded. No Red examples are known to PCGS, and this PR65 Red and Brown is one of only two such pieces (10/12).
The CSA Restrikes were struck in 1874 by Haseltine, who had acquired the dies for the then-unknown Confederate cents from Robert Lovett, Jr., of Philadelphia, the designer of the dies and a prolific diesinker. Impressions were made in copper (but none in copper-nickel, a smart move on Haseltine's part), to the extent of a reported 55 pieces; rarer gold and silver strikes were also produced.
In brief, the story goes that diesinker Lovett in 1861 was approached in Philadelphia by agents of the Confederate States of America to design dies for a Southern coinage. Lovett stated that he struck 12 original cents in copper-nickel but never delivered them; Lovett feared federal charges of treason, the Civil War having commenced by that time.
For the Confederate States of America cent, Lovett chose an obverse that some call the "French Liberty Head" design, a left-facing Liberty with traditional pileus, a symbol of liberty, on her head. Long tresses flow down her back and onto the rear area of the sharply truncated bust. The CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA encircles the periphery, with the date 1861 below. The reverse wreath is composed of a bale of cotton at the bottom center with bow above, tobacco, corn, maple, and two barrels.
In another move that Lovett would likely later also consider unwise, he signed the cotton bale at lower reverse with a prominent L initial, quite prominent on this example.
Under a lamp, considerable mint red outlines the devices and legends on both sides, with some lovely brown and purple field accents. One could easily imagine a late-series Indian cent that offers similar coloration, and neither side displays any mentionable contact. Quite the contrary, the sharp proof strike, beautiful color, and pristine surfaces mark this coin for high eye appeal, as does the CAC approval that accompanies it.
The CSA Restrike cents are so rare that they appear on the market fairly infrequently. In 2008 we offered a PR63 Red and Brown PCGS example that finally crossed the auction block for a winning bid of $31,050, lot 2883 in our FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2008). In January 2010, a piece in the PR65 Red and Brown grade sold in a Stack's auction for $43,700, lot 3754. In January 2008, a piece in PR65 Red and Brown PCGS brought $48,300 at Stack's, lot 88. This piece is not an obvious plate-match with either of those Gems. Population: 2 in 65 Red and Brown, 0 finer (10/12). (NGC ID# 2C4Z, PCGS# 340406)
Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.
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