Beginning in 1916 and culminating in 1972, the construction of the Stone Mountain Memorial is a remarkable chapter in our nation’s history. Its contemporary controversy contrasts sharply with the period in which it was embraced by none other than President Calvin Coolidge. A testament to this is the 1924 legislation enacted by Coolidge, green-lighting the creation of a unique coin with the purpose of generating the required funds to chisel this majestic memorial into existence. The coin, known as the 1925 Stone Mountain Half Dollar, is more than just a piece of history – it’s an artifact with significant intrinsic value. So let’s delve deeper into the coin’s worth in the following section.
- 1925 Stone Mountain Half Dollar Value
- The Origins of the Stone Mountain Half Dollar, 1925
- Exploring the Intricate Details of the 1925 Stone Mountain Half Dollar
- Examination of the 1925 Stone Mountain Half Dollar
- Imperfections in the 1925 Stone Mountain Half Dollar
- An Inquiry into the Quantity of the 1925 Stone Mountain Half Dollar Coins
1925 Stone Mountain Half Dollar Value
|Mint Mark||Very Fine||Extremely Fine||About Uncirculated||Low Mint State||Mid Mint State||High Mint State|
|1925 Stone Mountain Half Dollar Value||$32||$45||$55||$73||$175||$15,000|
The half dollar’s value can vary considerably, depending on its condition. A piece that’s well preserved but showing moderate wear (“Very Fine”) is typically valued at around $32. If the coin is in slightly better condition, labelled “Extremely Fine,” its worth increases to about $45. Coins rated as “About Uncirculated” – showing minor signs of wear – are often valued at $55.
The value rises steeply as we move into the Mint State grades. A coin in “Low Mint State” condition, which might only have minor imperfections, can fetch around $73. A “Mid Mint State” coin, displaying only a few insignificant marks, might sell for $175.
The true jewel in any coin collector’s crown would be a “High Mint State” 1925 Stone Mountain Half Dollar. Such a coin, practically flawless and showing no signs of wear even under magnification, could be worth an impressive $15,000. Indeed, this humble coin isn’t just a memento of a bygone era, but a treasure with the potential for considerable financial gain.
The Origins of the Stone Mountain Half Dollar, 1925
In the rapidly evolving society of today, numerous practices once deemed ordinary have come under fire as unethical, inappropriate, and occasionally, malevolent. Many people continue to adhere to such practices due to their religious convictions, cultural heritage, or personal ideology, often inciting heated debates. Some even receive the tag of being ‘left-wing.’
Unraveling Historical Objects: The Controversy Around the 1925 Stone Mountain Half Dollar
Against this backdrop, the dialogue surrounding past artifacts and events can become entangled with a liberal perspective. A prime instance of this can be seen in the discourse surrounding the 1925 Stone Mountain Half Dollar. Its representation has sparked fiery debates—some individuals denounce it as the most prejudiced currency ever produced, while others admire it as an emblem of national history. The coin came into existence in 1925 as a fundraising initiative for the Stone Mountain Memorial, located near Atlanta, Georgia.
The memorial as it stands today presents a tableau of three leaders from the Confederacy. It’s important to note that the locale, Stone Mountain, held a deep association with the Ku Klux Klan. The original proprietors of the mountain and the inaugural sculptor of the monument were well-known Klan affiliates. Moreover, the individuals depicted in the monument held influential positions in the unfortunate side of the Civil War. Regrettably, some individuals still uphold these ideologies in our time. However, we’ll pivot our focus back to the coin.
The Saga of Gutzon Borglum and the Stone Mountain Assignment
Eminent artist, Gutzon Borglum, born in Idaho to Danish Mormon converts, had a multifaceted past. Borglum, a Klan member from the North, began his artistic journey as a painter before transitioning his creative pursuits towards sculpture, under the influence of Auguste Rodin. His birth name was John Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum, and he was raised in a family practicing polygamy.
Borglum’s artistic brilliance shone brightly, his creations even earning him a gold medal. He was no stranger to commercial success, with patrons regularly purchasing his works. A fine pedigree in art education fortified his talent: he trained at the San Francisco Art Academy and had the privilege of attending two of Paris’s distinguished art schools — École des Beaux-Arts and Académie Julian. By the dawn of the 20th century, Borglum concentrated solely on sculpture, but his volatile temperament was known to ripple through the art community.
His employment on the Stone Mountain Project was initiated by C. Helen Plane, a prominent figure of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC). However, the year that saw Borglum design a commemorative coin also witnessed his dismissal from the project due to internal discord. His creative prowess found him later at the helm of the iconic Mount Rushmore project. The coin he designed showcased Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, who were eventually depicted on the monument.
Drawing parallels with the Children’s Founders Roll medal, Borglum’s coin was octagonal with a perforation at the apex, intended for a ribbon or leather cord. The commemorative piece was offered to Caucasian youngsters, not exceeding 18 years, who made a financial contribution towards the monument’s construction costs. The coin’s design boasted a trio of riders in the foreground and a troop of soldiers marching in the backdrop, albeit in distinct poses.
To clarify, the third individual sculpted on the carving is Jefferson Davis, the Confederate States’ President from 1861 to 1865. Along with its role in generating funds for the Stone Mountain Memorial Association (SMMA), the coin was intended to pay tribute to Warren Gamaliel Harding, America’s 29th President, who had recently passed away. However, neither his depiction nor his mention was incorporated into the coin design.
Controversy Surrounding the Stone Mountain Commemorative Coin
The initial iterations of the celebrated coin bore subtle hints to its controversial protagonist. These insinuations, however, had to be swept away following successive edits, as they were meant to placate those hailing from the North, who opposed any commemoration of the defeated faction. President Calvin Coolidge stepped in and made certain all specific allusions to the controversial figure, Harding, were excised. This bold move met with staunch opposition, yet Coolidge stood his ground and gave the coin his personal endorsement.
The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), composed of Union veterans, mounted a campaign against the coin. Yet, the mastermind behind the coin, Borglum, was clever enough to exclude President Davis from the design, aware that the remaining two generals found respect even amidst the Northern population. Borglum subtly included thirteen stars in his design, a detail we’ll delve into shortly. Furthermore, his abrasive demeanor didn’t sit well with his contemporaries in the artistic sphere.
Upon submission of his coin design to the Commission on Fine Arts, Borglum was met with repeated rejections. He disregarded their critique until threats of termination were levied against him. He ultimately created nine variations before his coin was finally accepted. Following this, the Stone Mountain Memorial Association (SMMA) made a noisy and public dismissal of Borglum. The ensuing humiliation caused a drop in coin sales, as even his ardent supporters, along with the general public, refrained from purchases.
Even the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), the original instigators of the project, withdrew their support. The scandal surrounding the coin became an unpleasant spectacle, complete with charges for destroying his models, attempted evasion, reciprocal mud-slinging, and allegations of misappropriation of funds from all involved parties. The work Borglum had completed was symbolically obliterated from the mountain, and many sculptors declined invitations to take up his vacated role.
The Journey of the Stone Mountain Half Dollar, 1925
In due course, the project fell into the hands of Augustus H. Lukeman. With a desire to distribute the coin widely, a team of skilled promoters was assembled, setting the initial price at a single dollar before eventually doubling it. This endeavor came to be known affectionally as the ‘Harvest Campaign.’ In this ambitious project, some administrators were compensated with wages, extra payments, and perks to drum up interest in the coin. They imposed distribution goals on the southern states and even resorted to marking some coins uniquely to stimulate auction activity. Despite these efforts, the commercial outcome was unsatisfactory.
Numerous coins found their way into the hands of individuals as presents from banking institutions and businesses. But fortune smiled on Borglum. The endeavor commenced with Borglum’s ambitious vision of a Confederate tribute carved into the side of Stone Mountain. He envisioned a commemorative coin and a medal to fund the grand endeavor. While the coin was a setback, causing him to lose this project, it didn’t put a damper on his skills. Soon, his abilities found him employed in South Dakota, shaping the iconic Mount Rushmore.
In an ironic twist, when the Stone Mountain Memorial Association (SMMA) sought to re-employ him in the following decade, he was already gainfully employed! The Stone Mountain monument project ground to a halt in 1928 and was shelved until the mid-sixties. It wasn’t until April 14th, 1965, precisely one century after the demise of Abraham Lincoln, that Stone Mountain Park officially welcomed its first visitors. Fast forward to today, and there are several ongoing attempts to demolish the monument, though all have so far been thwarted.
Exploring the Intricate Details of the 1925 Stone Mountain Half Dollar
Coins are born from simple metallic discs known as planchets. They feature a front, or obverse, and a back, often referred to as the reverse. The engravings, referred to as legends or mottos, share the coin’s space with artistic renderings, or devices. The coin’s canvas is the field, while the peripheral raised outlines and the slim sides are known as collars and edges, respectively. Let’s delve deeper into the fascinating world of the 1925 Half Dollar.
The Intricate Front Design of the 1925 Stone Mountain Half Dollar
The obverse of the 1925 Stone Mountain Half Dollar beautifully captures the likenesses of General Robert E. Lee and General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson, gallantly mounted on horseback. The inscription ‘In God We Trust’ floats above them, a nod, as creator Borglum insisted, to the profound religious conviction of the South.
Adorning the apex of the coin are 13 gleaming stars, a count that Borglum implied could symbolize either the Confederate states for those in the South or the first 13 states for the North, leaving the interpretation delightfully open to the beholder’s perspective. Etched on the lower left are Stone Mountain and the year of mintage, accompanied by the artist’s initials near the tails of the horses.
The Artistic Back Display of the 1925 Stone Mountain Half Dollar
On the reverse of the 1925 Stone Mountain Half Dollar, an eagle is poised majestically on a rock, its wings spread, seemingly ready to take flight. It is positioned on the right side of the coin. The Latin motto ‘E Pluribus Unum’ can be found on the upper left side.
The engraving ‘Memorial to the Valor of the Soldier of the South’ resides on the middle-left side, with ‘Liberty’ inscribed just below it and above the coin’s value. Gently fading stars are dispersed around the coin, predominantly on the left field, but also sprinkled above the eagle’s head and beneath its wings. Between the inscriptions of ‘United States of America’ at the top and ‘Half Dollar’ at the bottom, you’ll find more stars, adding to the coin’s captivating aura.
A Look at the Noteworthy Aspects of the Stone Mountain Half Dollar Minted in 1925
In 1925, a distinctive half dollar coin came into existence, the Stone Mountain Half Dollar. With a composition mainly composed of silver (90%) and supplemented by copper (10%), this coin exhibited the typical metal allocation for monetary units during that period.
The Stone Mountain Half Dollar shared similar physical attributes with other half dollars minted in the same era. With a weight measuring at 12.5 grams and boasting a diameter of 30.61 millimeters, this coin was neither too hefty nor too large. At a thickness of 2.15 millimeters and possessing a ridged perimeter, it was tactilely familiar to the citizens of the time.
The inception of this coin was not only for monetary circulation but also to serve a commemorative purpose. The initial plan was to auction the Stone Mountain Half Dollar to generate funds for a cause. However, the coin’s reception was lukewarm at best and it did not perform as anticipated in auctions. Consequently, a significant number of these commemorative coins found their way into everyday transactions, being spent at their designated face value.
Examination of the 1925 Stone Mountain Half Dollar
An intriguing journey of fluctuating value can be witnessed in the case of the 1925 Stone Mountain Half Dollar. In the winter month of January in 2005, an exemplary Stone Mountain Half Dollar, graded as Mint State (MS) 65, was auctioned off for a whopping $37,375. Yet, the sands of time weren’t kind to its value as the same coin, by 2023, was bought for a mere $230. Even an MS 67+ graded by PCGS, sold in December 2022, didn’t fare better, attracting only $2,850. The tale doesn’t end here; NGC coins had their own share of the story. An MS 68 specimen was auctioned for $5,280 in the summer of 2020. The apex of grading, MS 68+, has seen only three pieces so far, with PCGS approximating their worth in 2023 to be around $32,500.
The 1925 Stone Mountain Half Dollar with an ALA Counterstamp
States aimed to exceed their sales quotas by counterstamping a selection of coins, hoping to elevate their auction prices. Case in point is the ALA counterstamped coin. In November of 2020, one such coin, evaluated as MS 63, fetched a solid $3,840 at the auction. A considerably inferior graded coin, VG 10, managed to accumulate $660 in June 2022. Interestingly, PCGS has only appraised one coin as MS 63, with its current 2023 value projected to be around $5,000.
The 1925 Stone Mountain Half Dollar Marked for Florida
Counterstamped coins were typically sold off for $10 to $110. A unique anecdote from 1925 shares the story of a Florida-marked coin that struck gold, selling for $1,500. Flash forward to March 2006, an Almost Uncirculated (AU) 55 coin was bought for $1,150. Another instance from January 2019 reports a low-grade Good (G) 4 coin selling for $1,020. The highest recorded grade for a Florida-stamped coin is MS 63, a title held by a singular coin seen by PCGS. Although no sales records exist for this piece, a close match would be the AU 58 coin sold for $690 back in the frosty January of 2010.
Extended Price and Popularity of 1925 Stone Mountain Half Dollar Versions
In the realm of coin collecting, understanding the past and current values of different variants of a coin, in this case the 1925 Stone Mountain Half Dollar, can be truly captivating. There are various versions of this coin, distinguished by their counterstamps, with price fluctuations and popularity noted over time. PCGS, a well-regarded grading service, has evaluated a certain number of each variant, though it’s important to note that numerous examples remain in personal collections, their worth yet to be assessed. Special mention goes to two unique editions – the Golden and Silver Lavalier coins – originally bestowed upon the leading female sellers in each county.
Let’s explore the journey of these coins:
|Counterstamp||State of Origin||Quality||Last Traded Month-Year||Highest Price Achieved||Counted by PCGS|
|Variant A||Undisclosed||Mint State 61||August ’19||$365||1|
|ALA. S.L.||Alabama||Extremely Fine Details||April ’21||$1,680||1|
|FLA. G.L.||Florida||Mint State 60||August ’01||$690||1|
|GA||Georgia||Almost Uncirculated 50||March ’06||$1,093||11|
|KY||Kentucky||Almost Uncirculated 55||March ’06||$2,645||2|
|MISS||Mississippi||Almost Uncirculated 55||March ’06||$1,898||9|
|MISS. G.L||Mississippi||Almost Uncirculated 50||October ’21||$9,300||1|
|N. CAR||North Carolina||Extremely Fine 40||August ’22||$2,700||16|
|OKLA||Oklahoma||Mint State 62||November ’20||$2,160||10|
|OKLA. G.L.||Oklahoma||Almost Uncirculated 50||January ’04||$920||1|
|S.C.||South Carolina||Almost Uncirculated 50||March ’06||$1,093||7|
|TEX||Texas||Almost Uncirculated 50||May ’03||$575||1|
As the table illustrates, each coin has a unique story, from its state of origin to its sale history. Coin collecting indeed merges history, geography, and economics into a single, exciting narrative.
Imperfections in the 1925 Stone Mountain Half Dollar
Mistakes during coin production can significantly augment their worth, sometimes adding hundreds or even thousands of dollars to their original value. These discrepancies take place at different points in the minting process, which commences with a large 8-inch model crafted from rubber, epoxy, and plaster. Subsequently, this model is miniaturized to coin-size over several days using a mint reducing machine, yielding a steel master hub, the entity responsible for creating the steel master dies.
These master dies give birth to working hubs, which in turn create working dies. The final step of this complex process involves these dies imprinting designs onto blank metal discs, or planchets, creating the final coins. During this multi-strike process, the movement of the metal can result in coins that are misaligned or have their designs repeated two, three, or even four times, leading to errors. Additionally, there may be coins which have been struck on planchets designed for different denominations, adding further to the variety of possible errors.
The Doubling Error on the 1925 Stone Mountain Half Dollar
The obverse side of a coin can sometimes bear the marks of a doubling error, a phenomenon known as a “doubled-die obverse” or DDO. This occurs when there is a slight shift in the die’s position between strikes, resulting in a doubling effect on the design. The defective die then replicates this error on each coin it produces. This means that the occurrence of one such error can result in the production of thousands of identical flawed coins, leading to a unique subset within the coin collection.
Interestingly, a 1925 Stone Mountain Half Dollar with a DDO is valued at $150 when it is in Mint State 63 condition, $275 when it is in Mint State 65 condition, and a whopping $1,250 when it reaches the Mint State 67 condition. These values underline the significant impact of production errors on a coin’s overall worth.
An Inquiry into the Quantity of the 1925 Stone Mountain Half Dollar Coins
Just How Many Were Produced?
Although the Philadelphia Mint’s official records indicate a distribution of over 1.3 million Stone Mountain Half Dollar coins from the year 1925, there remains some contention over the true quantity. There’s a compelling narrative around the authorized production that extends up to 5 million coins. As the tale goes, some believe that the entirety of these 5 million coins were crafted, only for half to meet an untimely demise in the furnace. Other sources provide a different account, asserting a production total of 2.31 million, with an additional 4,709 coins produced specifically for purposes of quality assessment. This latter group of coins were integral in ensuring the mint maintained high standards of coinage.