Friday, May 08, 2009

Rare Coins: Confederate Coins (1861-1865)

The Confederacy made tentative steps toward coining money. Many United States silver half dollars minted in New Orleans in 1861 ( 1861 O) were struck by Confederates. The 1861 O quantity includes 330,000 coins struck by the U.S. government; 1,240,000 for the state of Louisiana after it seceded from the Union, and 962,633 coins struck after Louisiana joined the Confederacy. Since all of these coins were struck from U.S. dies they cannot be distinguised one from the other.

The Confederacy’s attempt to operate the New Orleans mint also accounts for some of the rarest coins in American history, the so called “Confederate half dollars.” In 1861 the Confederate government coined four silver half dollars at New Orleans using the obverse of the regular U.S. half dollar and an original Confederate design on the reverse side. The first of these Confederate half dollars was not found until 1879. The other three have yet to be found.

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