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There are many types of Civil War coins and tokens, though certain ones have special popularity.
From values of 1 cent to hundreds of thousands of dollars, there are many Civil War coins that can be collected.
Coins Of The Confederate States Of America
Perhaps the most famous Civil War coin is the 1861 Confederate States of America half dollar. Only 4 hand-struck 1861 CSA half dollars were ever produced.
Struck at the New Orleans mint, 1861 CSA half dollars are highly rare and command prices well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Restrikes and copies of these coins exist.
Chances are, if you own an 1861 CSA half dollar, it is a copy and worth less than $10. There are 500 restrikes that were minted, fetching between $3,000 and $10,000.
Civil War Tokens
There were also coin shortages during the Civil War. This necessitated the private minting of tokens which were used as money in various parts of our war-torn country. These Civil War tokens were often seen in the Midwest and Northeast.
Collectors of these civil war tokens have placed values on them generally based on how rare each is. Many types of tokens were made by the thousands, and others were made only by the handful. Some are known to be unique.
The use of private, circulating tokens as currency was outlawed by the United States on April 22, 1864. On June 8, 1864, the U.S. banned the minting of all private coins.
Other forms of Civil War money include paper money, often in the form of “fractional notes” (paper money with face values worth only cents) and stamps.
Civil War Coins Issued By The U.S. Mint
From 1859 through 1864, these coins were produced from an 88-percent copper and 12-percent nickel composition. Some of these coins are distinctively lighter in color than the more typical, bronze cents.
A Severe Coin Shortage
Another popular Civil War era coin is the 2-cent piece. These first hit circulation in 1864 and became the first U.S. coin ever to bear the motto “In God We Trust.”
The 2-cent piece helped get the nation through a severe Civil War coin shortage. However, it did not have lasting popularity and ceased to be minted after 1873.
Two-cent coins can be had for as little as $15 to $20 in well worn condition, and they appear in many coin collections.
Seated Liberty Coins
Seated Liberty coinage is also highly demanded by coin collectors.
It has remained popular with collectors to this very day.
The Seated Liberty design is often associated with the Civil War era. In fact, it is the obverse design of the Confederate States of America half dollar mentioned above.
More About Civil War Coins
I’m the Coin Editor here at TheFunTimesGuide. My love for coins began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the 20th century. I’m a member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) and have won multiple awards from the NLG for my work as a coin journalist. I’m also the editor at the Florida United Numismatists Club (FUN Topics magazine), and author of Images of America: The United States Mint in Philadelphia (a book that explores the colorful history of the Philadelphia Mint). I’ve contributed hundreds of articles for various coin publications including COINage, The Numismatist, Numismatic News, Coin Dealer Newsletter, Coin Values, and CoinWeek. I’ve authored nearly 1,000 articles here at The Fun Times Guide to Coins (many of them with over 50K shares), and I welcome your coin questions in the comments below!