Morgan Dollars

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Price: $2,770.00
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Item Number: NK10686

1861 U.S. & Confederate (Blue & Grey) Seated Liberty Half Dollars – SS Republic

These coins survived the Civil War and a Shipwreck Two Mints, Two Coins — United at Last!
By the time the SS Republic sank in late October 1865, she claimed a remarkable seafaring legacy including heroic service for both the Union and Confederate navies during the American Civil War. The Republic was an industrial marvel, built in Fells Point, Baltimore, by the John A Robb Shipyard. She was equipped with a vertical walking-beam steam engine, twin return-flue boilers and other machinery constructed by Baltimore’s Charles Reeder and Son. Her two 28-foot side-wheels were driven by a massive single piston. The sturdy 210-foot long vessel was originally built to transport 100 passengers and store 5,000 barrels of cargo in her hold.
As armies clashed on the battlefield, crude steam-powered coin presses in both Philadelphia and New Orleans thundered away, producing virtually identical silver coins. This “Blue & Grey” coin set comprises a Seated Liberty half dollar  produced at the Philadelphia Mint in 1861 and a coin produced at the New Orleans Mint in 1861; defining the tragic nature of the Civil War -- a war fought not only by "two sides of the same coin", but by two sides minting the same coins!
Seated Liberty half Dollars- A fascinating coin series
The design features a  portrait of Lady Liberty seated on a stone, with a heraldic shield marked “Liberty” in her right hand and a pole with a liberty cap on the top in her left. The reverse depicts an eagle similar to that on earlier half dollars. Issued from 1839 to 1891.
Six design changes or varieties of Seated Liberty half dollars were issued. In the first year, 1839 an extra piece of drapery was added to Lady Liberty’s left elbow. In 1842 letters on its reverse were increased in size.
In 1853 the weight on the coin was reduced by seven percent. The California gold rush of 1849 set up a dynamic where silver coins were more valuable than gold coins. Two-hundred half dollars melted into bullion would buy not $100 in gold but $106.60. This gold could then be exchanged at face value for more silver coins. By 1853 silver coins had a higher metal value than monetary value and melting was widespread.
To make the public aware of this, a new design was issued with arrows at the date and rays around the eagle. In 1854 the rays were removed from the design because striking issues with the crude steam presses used at that time.
A decade later, in 1866, the motto “In God We Trust” was added to the reverse design in a ribbon above the eagle.
In 1873 and 1874 arrows were once again added to the design, this time to let the public know an increase in weight to the original size.
Your Civil War Era coin set has the extra pedigree of being recovered from a shipwreck. The SS Republic was a Civil War-era side-wheel steamship that sank in 1865 after battling a hurricane for two days. At the time, she was en route from New York to New Orleans carrying a large cargo of silver and gold coins and a stunning variety of everyday goods to help rebuild New Orleans’ ailing post-war economy. Over 51,000 silver and gold coins and more than 14,000 were recovered from the shipwreck.
NGC has authenticated the coins in this collection and guarantees their provenance.

• Date: 1860
• Metal: 24.88 grams silver
• Purity: .900
• Diameter: 30.6 mm
• Grade/Condition: NGC Shipwreck Effect
• Mint Mark: Philadelphia/New Orleans
• Service: NGC