A brief history of Confederate Coins

(I carry the real thing in my pocket every day for luck – DD)

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(Dave Meisky, ANA) Most people are aware of Confederate paper money but did the Confederacy mint coins? This is a difficult question as there are two possible answers: “Yes, but…” or “No, however…” In 1861 there were five United States mints. Two of them, the main mint in Philadelphia and the newest mint in San Francisco, were in states that remained in the Union while the mints in Charlotte, North Carolina; Dahlonega, Georgia; and New Orleans were in what became the Confederate States. Of these three, New Orleans was the largest while the other two were smaller operations that had been established in the early 1840s to take advantage of gold strikes in these areas.

In January of 1861, the Federal government produced about 330,000 silver (actually 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper) half dollars at New Orleans. When Louisiana seceded the state took over the mint and continued production, turning out about 124,000 of the coins. They used the original die (the die is what actually creates the image on the blank coin) so their coins still said “United States of America.” The Confederate Treasury Department then took over and minted another 963,000 United States half dollars. Coins of this period contained approximately the amount of metal equal to the face value of the coin and these Louisiana- and Confederate-produced coins had the same amount of silver as the U.S.-produced coins and were thus just as valuable. There is no way to determine if an individual coin was minted by the U.S., Louisiana, or the Confederacy as the same workers used the same die and machines and the coins had the same amount of silver.

Louisiana and the Confederacy also minted United States double eagle ($20) gold coins in New Orleans. The product runs for these coins was about 5,000 by the U.S., 9,750 by Louisiana, and 2991 by the Confederacy. The South also minted a total of approximately 10,000 United States gold $1 and $5 coins at Charlotte and Dahlonega before running out of stock and closing down these two operations.

The Confederate States, as an independent nation, wanted to produce their own coins, not just copy U.S. coins, so it was decided to…

A brief history of Confederate Coins