The Confederate Cent

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The Confederate Cent
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The Confederate Cent is a great rarity.    Originals were made by a Philadelphia engraver named Robert Lovett, in 1861.  Soon after the dies were engraved it became law now to do business with the South.  Lovett stamped out a total of 16 coins using the coppernickel alloy that was used to produce the identical Indian head cent.  Details are still unclear if the dies at any time were in the South, but in 1873 Lovett accidently spent one of the coins which he had carried in his pocket.  This coin made its way to a prominant collector, who identified it as Lovetts work, and finally obtained the dies from him in 1874.   In turn, restrikes from the original dies were made,  55 in copper,  7 in gold and 12 in silver.    The dies broke during this run and were cancelled with chisel marks on the reverse. In 1961, these dies were purchased by Robert Bashlow, an eccenteric coin collector who in turn had transfer (copy) dies made in order to stamp more restrikes.  These coins (or tokens) are double thickness.   Copper (bronze) silver and goldine (a gold colored alloy) were used and approx.30,000 were coined.  All these coins bear the chisel marks on the reverse, and pitting (raised lumps) on the obverse.  After Bashlow was done, the dies were sent to the Smithsonian, where they rest today.      ONLY the original coppernickel Lovett cents and the Haseltine 1874 Restrikes have great collector value.  The originals are valued at approx.   150000 USD and the 1874 Restrikes  between 25000-60000USD.  The Bashlow 1961 restrikes (or copies) have slowly risen in value, with the copper pieces about $50. the silver and goldine at $125.

Over the years **MANY** different copies have been made, but none have used the original or transfer dies.  They are essentially worthless, except as a novelty item.  BEWARE of any Confederate Cents that appear on ebay that do not meet the above original or restrike qualifications.  It is very very doubtful that anyone selling an 1861 original or 1874 restrike will list the coin on ebay with a dubious listing.  These coins usually always sell at National auctions to well heeled collectors.  

If you want an acceptable substitute for the Confederate Cent,  the Bashlow 1961 restrike is the best solution. They are a true copy, and have a collector value of their own. 

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