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Confederate States of America Half Dollar

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    Posted 11 years ago

    (39 items)

    Hello to Everybody,

    I have a growing fascination with the US Civil War but it has grown more in the last year.

    Here is a Confederate Half Dollar I stumbled across lately. The photo does not do full justice. The coin seems real if you were to hold it in your hands - it does not seem fake - it appears to be legit. Old, dirty, corroded - as if it has been buried in the ground for a long time - and unusual.

    I know, I know...somebody is going to let the air out of my tires on this one - but the coin seems genuine. I do not know if it was a counterfeit or an early restrike. It may be worthless - but I don't think so! It is old whatever the case may be - and by "old" I mean over a 100 YEARS OLD. I should know, I collect US coins and foreign coins. If this was a fake, then somebody has pulled the con job of the century! For what? A few lousy bucks? Really? - I don't think so.

    Yes, the reverse has 17 buds instead of 19 buds on the cotton strand. Yes, the coin may not contain much silver. Yes, the diameter may be smaller than a SCOTT restrike. Yes. yes, yes - I get it! This coin is still very old and has some mystery surrounding it!

    The "T" punched next to the 1861 date - there are a dozen meanings according to my research. One expert will say "T" means "TOY". Sorry, nice try but I don't think so. It is too authentic to be just a toy (if it were to be a toy - then it is a very old toy!). The "T" has been defined by other experts to mean "TEXAS", "TRADEMARK", "TAYLOR" (B.F. Taylor - Chief Coiner for the New Orleans mint). And so on...

    One camp argues this is a replica manufactured in Europe (once again - I don't think so) - while the other camp says this type of a coin is a counterfeit coin from the period and was used as a token for trade in the Southern States. Yet another faction claims this is perhaps a counterfeit from the period forged within the Union and issued by the Northern States into circulation in order to create deflation or inflation within the Confederacy.

    Well, the stories never end and everybody has an opinion! I am fairly certain the coin is not one of the 4 known originals struck in 1861. Those four originals seem to accounted for in full.

    I will stop here now. The folklore goes on and on...but one thing I do know is you cannot find any information about these type of coins (remember the "T") on the "good ol' Internet" . You can find out a lot about "The Kardashians" on the Internet though - if you are interested. The reason? Well, simple - who really remembers the Civil War? Not the kids of today - certainly not. Only the Civil War buffs (generally over the age of 50) are going to take any real interest. I am sorry but this is the truth!

    Before I go, I did find one mention on the Internet wherby a Historian claimed these CSA coins were minted in California from the 1880s to the early 1900s (exact dates unknown) by a coin maker who would sell them at carnivals, county fairs and the like. I can't prove it but who can? However, it may be the most likely answer.

    Please if anybody has any pertinent information about this CSA half dollar, then simply reply here on this post. Your input is greatly appreciated!

    Thank you to all!

    Unsolved Mystery

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    1. earthandmagneto earthandmagneto, 11 years ago
      Thank you BELLIN68! It is good to get a message from you!
    2. earthandmagneto earthandmagneto, 11 years ago
      Thank you pw-collector!
    3. earthandmagneto earthandmagneto, 11 years ago
      Thank you mustangtony!
    4. earthandmagneto earthandmagneto, 11 years ago
      Thank you kerry10456!
    5. earthandmagneto earthandmagneto, 11 years ago
      Thank you blunderbuss2!
    6. earthandmagneto earthandmagneto, 11 years ago
      Thank you vetraio50!
    7. earthandmagneto earthandmagneto, 11 years ago

      Hi again to everybody! Thanks for all of the nice comments.

      After some more "digging for the truth", I have found this coin or token is smaller than a regular half dollar. Half dollars are roughly 30mm in size. This coin or reproduction coin is roughly 29mm which is the size of a Large Cent normally minted at 29mm in size.

      So a fake coin - right? Well, I am still not so sure - and here is why: Christian Gobrecht designed the "Seated Liberty" coins as shown here in my post. He also designed the last version of the "Large Cent" before it was discontinued in 1857. There were also unofficial versions of the Large Cent never circulated but there are only 12 known. Why would somebody mint a CSA Half Dollar to be the exact size of a Large Cent? I have no idea! In fact, not very many people are aware Large Cents were ever struck and distributed by the United States. I really did not know of this fact until recently. More to come later...
    8. earthandmagneto earthandmagneto, 11 years ago


      After exhaustive research, I have found this coin is very scarce. If you have one in your possession, then you are holding a fortune! I tell you no lies!

      This coin is an original from the Lovett Die Trial for the proposed currency to be circulated by The Confederate States of America. It is not a token - it is a coin minted from a "coin die" or "coin press". It is not lead but an alloy or white metal. These extremely scarce and limited coins are A.K.A. "M" for Christopher Memmenger (the Secretary of the Treasury for the CSA), "A" for Dr. E. Ames of New Orleans, "T" for B.F. Taylor (Chief Coiner of the New Orleans Mint) and "B" for Professor Biddle of Tulane University. There is some confusion about the "B" or "R". The "R" mentioned here is on the obverse of the coin and not on the reverse. If the "R" is on the reverse, then it is for "REPLICA" or "REPRODUCTION" - not discussed here.

      By all accounts, this is a Lovett design (hence the 17 buds on the cotton strand) of the original 1861 Confederate Half Dollar. The progenerate of all 1861 Confederate Half Dollars with 28mm Confederate design. Keep in mind, the Union used the 30mm Half Dollar design - this is Confederate and therefore different - contrary to popular opinion of the ANS or PCGS.

      Lovett - Robert Lovett Jr. was chosen by the Confederacy as the engraver of the Confederate One Cent Piece. There is much information available about the Confederate One Cent Piece as more were minted and the design was a "carry over" of the token utilized by "The Marshall House". However, less is known about the Lovett Die Trial (lost letters - way before email - so not traceable). Yes, Lovett was involved even if A.M.H Patterson is credited with the obverse design. Patterson was the engraver and diesinker for the Confederacy. Lovett was a Northerner (perhaps a Southern sympathizer?). Anyhow, Lovett abandoned the project after only 12 Confederate One Cent pieces were struck and the dies were hidden by him in fear of his life. Once again, he was a Northerner working for the Confederacy.

      The story is just too long to continue...but keep in mind - most people were not aware (or just plain forgot) the Confederate Half Dollar was in existence until 1879 (almost 14 years after the end of the Civil War). This is when B.F. Taylor came forward and sold the dies to Mason who sold to Scott - maker of the SCOTT "restrikes".

      Please contact me if you have any additional information. My conclusion until further proof is this coin as shown in my post is worth at least $20,000 and perhaps more - priceless. Thank you!
    9. earthandmagneto earthandmagneto, 11 years ago
      Thank you RonM!
    10. earthandmagneto earthandmagneto, 11 years ago
      Thank you Poop!
    11. earthandmagneto earthandmagneto, 11 years ago
      In my last comment. Patterson is credited with the reverse design - not the obverse design. A typo! The CSA Half Dol. has been called a "hybrid coin". This is because the obverse used a design created by Gobrecht and had been in usage for years before the secession, The reverse was a design credited to Patterson but first designed or at least first engraved, pressed by Lovett.
    12. TubeAmp TubeAmp, 11 years ago
      Hi Earth:

      I think this is a battlefield gift shop coin some kid dropped. Here is one still on the sales card, the "r" or "t" as the person sees it as is on your coin as well.

      Thanks for sharing,

      T A
    13. Militarist Militarist, 11 years ago
      If a worthless repro can inspire this much research then I guess it's not totally worthless after all.
    14. earthandmagneto earthandmagneto, 11 years ago
      Hi Militarist,

      Well, I am somewhat disappointed in your comment. The coin is not a worthless repro. The coin is over 100 years old and it is easy to see and judge. I have been buying these coins for years - all reproductions for sure - up until now. This coin is the real McCoy and it is worth a fortune - but I will never sell anyhow. Please let me know if you ever find an identical coin like it and I know you will feel the same way as I do. Good luck.
    15. earthandmagneto earthandmagneto, 11 years ago
      Thank you petey!
    16. earthandmagneto earthandmagneto, 11 years ago
      Hi TubeAmp,

      Thank you for your comment - but no (resounding no!). The picture you show is a common gift shop package and I have a hundred of those (they are all 30 mm in size). This coin I have is way different as I explained - the coin is not the same as a contemporary reproduction.

    17. earthandmagneto earthandmagneto, 11 years ago
      To all,
      If you do not have any pertinent or constructive information, then please do not bother to contact me - I will report you. This post is for people who can contribute some credible information of value. If you think the coin is a fake, then you are entitled to your opinion - but don't get sassy about it. I am not here to waste anybody's time. The coin is real and it is a mystery and therefore I posted it to start constructive dialogs with serious collectors. So I will not tolerate sophomoric comments. Thank you.
    18. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 11 years ago
      There were Confederate 1/2 & coins made for the Civil War centennial in Montgomery, AL in 1961. Maybe there were made for other events & it lost then they would have 50+ yrs age on them though I would think they would have been marked for each event.
    19. earthandmagneto earthandmagneto, 11 years ago
      Hi blunderbuss2,

      Yes, you are correct. You are also right as the tokens you mention are marked 1961 and I have seen them for different events from Alabama to North Carolina. My research shows this coin I have is scarce and valuable - but I can't absolutely prove it. This is why I mentioned the former coin maker from California who supposedly churned out these replica coins for County Fairs, Carnivals and other Conventions. Reportedly the tokens were made around the turn of the 20th Century. Nevertheless, my research indicates the coin is a prototype from roughly 1861.

      The coin is not "lead casting". After careful scrutiny, I can say the coin contains some kind of white metal content - perhaps a blending of nickle and copper -with just a pinch of silver - very unusual.

      I have searched far and wide - but according to legend, the "T" stands for B.F. Taylor. Even so, whether real or fake - the coin would not sell for much money. I have no intention of selling anyway. You can go to Ebay and purchase a "Graded by ANS - American Numismatic Society" - totally verified SCOTT C.S.A. Half Dollar for less than $7,000 total. I would never sneeze over $7,000 - but not real exciting huh? Thank you for your comment.
    20. TubeAmp TubeAmp, 11 years ago
      Like I said it's a lower case "r" for replica, the serif makes people think it's a "T". It's not your fault. It's the folly of America. Everyone thinks they are the smartest and richest person in the World, but time will tell. Send it in to be authenticated... End the mystery. After all, honesty is the best policy. Just because you dug it up, doesn't make it real.

      T A
    21. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 11 years ago
      I was at the centennial even in Montgomery & had several of those coins. Long lost not but certainly weren't lead. Since those orig. dies were still around after the war, it seems reasonable that somebody else made some unrecorded coins. I sure would have! Lot of time passed between the war & when the known re-strikes were made. Since you are the authority, how many sets were there that survived? Any non-destructive way to ck it for age?
    22. TubeAmp TubeAmp, 11 years ago
      Earth: Please show everyone the other side too. Or is that where this fantasy would all come crashing down?

      Yes there are restrikes, but the restrikes are of the reverse only. They only had the CSA reverse die, as the obverse was U. S. Government property, subject to seizure. So these off metal, odd sized, pieces are not real, especially with a crude representation of a 1861 U. S. Half Dollar. So it doesn't matter how long it was unaccounted for, or how many may have been struck, because as long as we see the device of Liberty on the front, it's fake. That's why on examples like this, the "r" is on the obverse since it is a relief copy of a legal tender U. S. coin.

      T A
    23. earthandmagneto earthandmagneto, 11 years ago
      Hi TubeAmp,

      Thank you for your comments - but let's just agree to disagree. You have your opinion and I have my opinion - so believe whatever you want. After all, does it really matter? Like I said, the most the coin could sell for is $7,000 - my "Used" 1998 Ford Expedition can sell for $8,500 because it is in good condition. So who really cares?

      Sadly, what I am finding out is the "Civil War Experts" really don't know that much about the Civil War. This comment is not directed at you - I would never insult you - you may know a lot about the Confederacy and the Union. It is just a sad observation overall - nobody can give me any pertinent information - only bitter arguments. Who needs it? Take care and good luck in your collecting.
    24. earthandmagneto earthandmagneto, 11 years ago
      Hi blunderbuss2,

      Thank you for your comments. Let's please set the record straight - I never claimed to be an "authority" on this coin or the Civil War. What I did say is my research indicates this coin is probably real and from the 1861 period. Yes, I can have it graded and tested - but why bother for only $7,000 total? I mean I would not even buy the SCOTT restrike for sale on Ebay for $7,000 or Best Offer - maybe you can purchase it before it is too late! Then there would be no debate at all.

      All I know is I have a very unusual Confederate coin or token in my possession and it will never be sold. Please let me know when you find one like it and maybe some light can be shown on the subject. Nobody but nobody else seems to know.

      Good luck in your collecting.
    25. earthandmagneto earthandmagneto, 11 years ago
      Hi TubeAmp,

      What do you collect? I can't seem to find any items collected on your page - or am I overlooking them?

    26. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 11 years ago
      Actually, I'm hoping it is genuine. Unless the dies were destroyed just after the recorded 4 were made, a lot of time passed before the dies popped up. If your coin matches those 4, maybe a few more were struck & not recorded. If I were involved with the first strikes, I would want one too. That's human nature. What is written is not always correct as everything you read O/L is not. What record are we relying on that says only 4 origs. were struck? I've always been lead to believe that, but where is that recorded? These dies lay around during the war & nobody thought to run off a souvenir or 2, or 3. Appears sides have been taken which makes it hard to be objective. I'm just an interested on-looker.
    27. earthandmagneto earthandmagneto, 11 years ago
      Hi blunderbuss2,

      Just a few comments. I would love to grade or test this coin. The leading authority on this type of coin is James H. Cohen of New Orleans. He could be brilliant or he could be crazy - but I am not going to take the time to find out. It is just not worthwhile to me.

      A quick fact, I live here in North Carolina and I went to visit Fort Fisher just 2 weeks ago. They sell "fake paper currency" but the lady at the desk told me they discontinued selling the "fake coin currency" - she did not know why.

      At any rate, you can see my main collection is old telephone pins and nobody ever contests the validity of those. Why? Because nobody cares (boring)! So imagine my surprise when I get a flood of messages debating the authenticity of this coin I just bought! This is the "acid test"of all tests. Why? Because people do care and they care about the Civil War! So this tells me I have an interesting item - whether real or reproduction. Oddly, I don't care that much - only I find the entire story of the U.S. Civil War on the fishy side. The North crushed the South because they had the "Industrial Might" - end of story. The Confederacy never stood much of a chance! Sherman (among other prominent Northerners) beat the Confederate States of America by destroying the Railroad System in the South after dismantling the Telegraph System in the South and also blocking the Seaside Ports to prohibit trade with Europe - do I need to go on? - finally burning down Atlanta! This is also after Lincoln overloaded Maryland and Delaware with Northern Militia so the two States mentioned could not join the South. All facts, the South was just trying to protect their way of life - but the North was not going to have any of it!

      Take care,

    28. earthandmagneto earthandmagneto, 11 years ago
      Thank you blunderbuss2. I hope the coin is real or genuine as well. I just collect for the fun of it though. You have a real nice collection. Thank you again.

    29. Militarist Militarist, 11 years ago
      I am sorry that you are somewhat disappointed earth... . Best thing you could do is to take the coin to a coin dealer and see what they say. One would have to see it in person to be sure but I wouldn't get your hopes up too high.
    30. TubeAmp TubeAmp, 11 years ago
      Scott: I collect souls.

      Please post the the other side of this piece. Thank you. Scott go pan for gold. I would rather be looking at pictures of nuggets you found then this thing. And I'm sorry that if you didn't even know about large cents, that only presents to me how little you know about coins and how you're hurting your case by stating the ANS and PCGS are wrong but you are correct.

      Blunderbuss: I wish it was real too. But I am also not blind and it would probably be easier to strike a real silver example then to make a pot metal planchette at home, during a war, bring that to work, and strike a copy.

      How many potmetal "Continental" dollars are on this site too? They come frome the same places, sold in gift shops all over Philadelphia in the historic Old Town section, same thing in Boston, etc. in Florida it was doubloons, in California it's fractional gold...

      Scott: The museum may have stopped selling them because they may have have been considered unhealthy by some group or government agency. Especially considering where they were manufactured and as they were sold for and to children. Lead, zinc, antimony, cadmium are found sometimes in these things. Please post the reverse of this piece! Thank you!

      T A
    31. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 11 years ago
      Earth, the federal gov't. didn't want slavery in the private sector when they could control it themselves as they did then & do today. (that should stir the sh-t up, but true). After getting myself involved in this, I did a brief research so am now semi-armed so dangerous but fear collateral damage. I won't get involved in the "r"/"t" controversy as I understand that "O" was called for & I believe it would take entirely diff. dies to change that. The 2 observations I will enter for the record is that the mark looks more like an "r" to me & the bottom of the 8 doesn't look concentric as one would expect from an engraver of coin dies. Just my observations. I still love the coin but don't want to get involved in "coin rage". Where did you dig it? Our 1st president did flee your way at the end of States Rights.
    32. TubeAmp TubeAmp, 11 years ago
      I can enjoy it also for what it is, but not as a $20,000 piece of hype. If you paid $4.00 for a replica, I would say you got your money's worth here with it ;) Many people knowingly collect replica items, no shame in it at all--But trying to fool people, joke or not, that's not cool at all. If it is an issue of Cash, I'll pay the bill to have it graded at PCGS via he's a good ol' boy. How's that for Northern hospitality! As we approach the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.

      T A
    33. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 11 years ago
      Tube, if you collect souls, you are a bit late with me. I also would like to see the other side. Just in the middle collecting data. Please don't shoot towards the side-lines guys! Looking at a site showing the orig. alongside a "Scott", I see things that tell me it wasn't struck from the orig. dies or a bad strike. Maybe the strikes were too light but don't match 100%. This is a confusing field.
    34. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 11 years ago
      Tube, don't forget Bull Run(s), Fredericksburg, Petersburg, etc. just because you yanks finally won one. This is what is known as a "hit & run".
    35. TubeAmp TubeAmp, 11 years ago
      Don't worry Blunderbuss, I only get them from the willing. I didn't forget, but you know when night fell, camps intermingled trading whiskey for food. Families may fight, but they're still brothers.

      T A
    36. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 11 years ago
      Either way you look at it, states rights & private rights lost. It crept in, but still happened. This is not a political site, so bon nuit.
    37. earthandmagneto earthandmagneto, 11 years ago
      Hi TubeAmp and Hi blunderbuss2,

      Both of your comments are truly appreciated. Thank you to both.

      I will post a photo of the reverse of the coin when I get a chance. To answer TubeAmp - yes, I got the coin or token for next to nothing - a few bucks. So no loss to me one way or the other.

      It is great chatting with both of you guys. I have lived all over the United States and I have lived in the North and the South. Both great! However, I tend to agree with blunderbuss2. He makes several great points - but this is just my opinion. As a result, I am more interested in the C.S.A. than the Union. Sorry, but this is the way I feel.

      The Confederacy was a special deal and it makes the Civil War seem more interesting. Just the same, I have Union tokens and coins too. It was just a fascinating period in history. Please keep in mind, a secession started to happen early just this year 2013 - but it fizzled out. It was not only Southern States this time...I believe New York was in the mix.

      Once again before I go, TubeAmp - the marking is an Uppercase "T" not a Lowercase "R" - sorry if you disagree. Furthermore, I do not really trust PCGS or ANS and I don't care what they say - but I appreciate your input TubeAmp.

      Y'all take care - Y'hear!
    38. earthandmagneto earthandmagneto, 11 years ago
      Hi Militarist,

      Thank you for your comments...but it is just like I have said over and over...I have a Rickenbacker Guitar - a really beautiful guitar. I have seen this same guitar sell for up to $5000. I have also seen the same guitar sell for less than $1000. It is whatever the end buyer wants to pay - we all know this. I would never try to trick anybody- I posted this coin because it looked very authentic and genuine - as I say Cohen of New Orleans is the specialist - he may still be living. Maybe I will contact him? Thanks again.
    39. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 11 years ago
      I can't waste this opportunity to offer an opinion about the War of Northern Aggression. I paraphrase from a Kraut girlfriend: Ve did not vant to take ower de vorl, ve ver just looking for a better climate. How many people retire to the north? H-ll, I live south of south!
    40. KallyK, 8 years ago
      I have a few close up
      pics of both sides of a simlar coin.
    41. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 8 years ago
      Let's see them KallyK! I will take this opportunity to mention, that 70%+ of the wealth of the "States", lay in the South. The federalist didn't like the imbalance & chose to steal it. Declaring a "blockade", as Lincoln did, is an act of war by international rules. The north fired the 1st shot! He should have been smarter & declared an embargo. Of course this is ignored, as the winners of wars write the history books. Well, we are getting away from the interesting coin.
    42. KallyK, 8 years ago
      I think I am on the wrong collectors site.
    43. KallyK, 8 years ago
      So I was curious about my coin as well and trying to find out all I can about it. I have since found a site that shows the back side of six versions of the same coin. They compare other versions to the original. The others are re-strike, souvenir, token, and toy. So according to this mine may fall under the souvenir, but I don't want to decide that for myself. Here are my pics.
    44. KallyK, 8 years ago
      Never mind I am not able to insert photo. I found in CoinSense a copy of the six coins to compare to.
    45. whamilton79, 8 years ago
      I have to ask where you acquired the piece. I'll get to why I ask in a second. Ok, this m may come as a sharp blow but you have a cheap toy. I had 4 of these floating around as well as a couple each of gold California $20 and a couple $1 continental coins. They were all stamped with the same "T". Here is the kicker, I got them from a friend years ago. He literally had a 5 gallon bucket full of these coins. For fun as a kid whenever his family would go to the beach they would drop a few and watch to see the reaction when they were found. Unfortunately the one I had have been lost as they were given to my kids to play with. I'll keep an eye out for them, I'm sure once will turn up around here sooner or later.
    46. Frdbuggy, 7 years ago
      Hey, I have the exact same coin, always considered it a fake, (still do) .How could I find out for sure?
    47. Dummy Dummy, 7 years ago
      I have a same coin and much clear features than yours but one thing i notice that the coin is one of a kind. There is big different on liberty picture i prepared to not take a picture of it. Most of i seen has a different pictures.if it is fake it should be same features like what we seen on internet a copy or replica need to same features to call it replica. but if your coin is different features and not existing on internet for sure it is real.
    48. CoinLover CoinLover, 6 years ago
      Is there a way to direct message on this site. I would love to discuss this with earthandmagneto and I believe that I have some relevant positive information.

      Thank you.
    49. PoliticalPinbacks PoliticalPinbacks, 6 years ago
      Hi CoinLover only if the person puts there email up often on there main page as earthandmagneto has just click on his name and maybe (read more) to see it.
    50. CoinLover CoinLover, 6 years ago
      Thank you.
    51. fhrjr2 fhrjr2, 6 years ago
      This entire post makes me sit and laugh. Anyone who says they don't trust experts already knows the truth and doesn't want to admit it.
    52. Digone, 4 years ago
      fhrjr2, is a want to be yeeaty
    53. Lowohms, 3 years ago
      I know this post is old. However I found another one with the T on it. It was in my grandfathers collection. Hidden inside a very small envelope. This is the only post I have found at all, that talks about the the letter T on the front.
    54. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 3 years ago
      Put it on a post, and show both sides. Ah fhrjr2, you've known me for some years now. I was an aircraft inspector, that's right, an expert. Think about that next time you fly ! LMFAO !!
    55. Lowohms, 3 years ago
      I did it just now with the best pic I could take of both sides.
    56. Lowohms, 3 years ago
      And please let it be known I’m almost 99.99999999% certain it is some sort of replica. But I’m more interested in the story above as well.
    57. Phootman Phootman, 3 years ago
      I have the exact same coin my mother came across she’s had it since she was 12 years old it also has the “T” beside 1861 and I am trying to gather information on this also to see if it has any value.
    58. SilverSwan, 3 years ago
      I found a 1861 t coin in my grandmother's jewelry box. The reverse side has 17 buds and marked "Half Dol". I believe this was her birth year, which is why she may have kept it.

      Thank you for your research.
    59. BuddieN, 3 months ago
      1861 confederate half here
    60. citykitti13 citykitti13, 24 days ago
      I have one and mine is defenetely a T not an R was found while digging for fossils in a Wet weather Creek 25 years ago.

    61. H2omlns, 14 days ago
      I just found one in a collection of coins I inherited. Does anyone know approximate value?

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