1861 Confederate Copper Cent SP 62

  • This 1861 Confederate cent is one of approximately 15-18 ever struck
  • It was commissioned by the Confederacy after its secession and designed by Robert Lovett Jr.
  • Lovett never delivered the coins or dies for fear he would be labeled a traitor
  • This example is graded Special Strike 62, and only one other known example has earned a higher grade
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 31-3547

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One of just 15-18 ever struck, this 1861 Confederate U.S. copper one-cent coin, commonly known as the Confederate cent, is a fascinating and rare artifact of both Civil War and American numismatics history. It further bears a “Special Strike” designation, of which only three are known to exist, and there is only one graded finer than the present example. 

In early 1861, having recently seceded and needing coinage, the Confederacy contacted jewelers Bailey & Co. of Philadelphia regarding the production of a new one-cent piece. The commission was awarded to die caster Robert Lovett Jr., who struck only 15-18 of these cents, consisting of 88% copper and 12% nickel. Lovett had second thoughts, however, and never delivered these coins or the dies to the Confederacy for fear it constituted treason. He instead hid them in his basement and kept one in his pocket that he would later inadvertently spend at a Philadelphia bar in 1873.

This coin ended up in the hands of John Hazeltine, a coin collector and dealer, who purchased the dies from Lovett and used them to restrike a total of 74 Confederates cents in 1874. The cent’s story fascinated coin collectors, and it has been restruck multiple times since, including by the Smithsonian.

The design features Liberty wearing a liberty cap on the obverse and a wreath of the South’s agricultural products on the reverse, including corn, tobacco, wheat and a cotton bale. Lovett engraved the letter “L” to serve as his signature in the cotton bale. This example is graded Special Strike 62, and it displays crisp, bold lines. To find an original Lovett striking of the Confederate cent is an exceedingly rare occurrence on the market.
1861 Confederate Copper Cent SP 62
Period: 19th Century
Origin: America
Type: Coins

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