Classic Coins - Battle of
Antietam Anniversary Half Dollar
The US Mint produced the Battle of Antietam Anniversary Half Dollar Classic Commemorative
Coin with a 1937 coinage date to remember the 75th anniversary of the historic battle of 1862 and to
recognize the men who fought in one of the bloodiest single-day battles of the Civil War.
Characteristics - size, weight, metal content, value range
Obverse - picture, description, artist
Reverse - picture, description, artist
Commentary - coin notes, mintage information, historical comments, fun
On June 24, 1937, the first session of the 75th Congress approved an act which became Public Law 75-160 that
authorized "the coinage of 50-cent pieces in commemoration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Battle of
The law began, "That in commemoration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Battle of Antietam there shall be
coined at one mint only of the United States to be designated by the Director of the Mint not to exceed fifty
thousand silver 50-cent pieces of standard size, weight, and composition and of a special appropriate single design
to be fixed by the Director of the Mint, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, but the United States
shall not be subject to the expense of making the necessary dies and other preparations for this coinage.
"SEC. 2. The coins herein authorized shall bear the date 1937, irrespective of the year in which they are minted
or issued, shall be legal tender in any payment to the amount of their face value, and shall be issued only upon
the request of the Washington County Historical Society of Hagerstown, Maryland, upon payment by it of the par
value of such coins, but not less than twenty-five thousand such coins shall be issued to it at any one time and no
such coins shall be issued after the expiration of one year after the date of enactment of this Act. Such coins may
be disposed of at par or at a premium by such Washington County Historical Society of Hagerstown, Maryland, subject
to the approval of the Director of the Mint, and the net proceeds shall be used by it in defraying the expenses
incidental and appropriate to the commemoration of such event."
The law continues in Section 3 stating that all laws already in place applying to coinage shall also apply to
Characteristics - Battle of Antietam
Anniversary Half Dollar
Metal Composition: 90% Silver, 10% Copper
Diameter - millimeters: 30.6
Diameter - inches: 1.2
Weight - grams: 12.5
Weight - troy ounce: 0.401884332
Silver content weight - troy ounce: 0.3617
Mint Locations: Philadelphia
Years Minted: 1937
The coin's silver content alone makes it more valuable than its face value of $0.50.
But, the coin's age, its condition, and its desirability make it even more valuable as a collectible.
The coin's estimated value ranges from $480 (low grade - XF) to $700 (high grade - MS-66).
Extraordinary characteristics on the Battle of Antietam Anniversary Half Dollar can command a price outside the
estimated value range.
Obverse - Battle of Antietam Anniversary Half
The obverse or front of the coin shows the profile portraits of generals George B. McClellan and Robert E.
The coinage inscriptions say, United States of America, In God We Trust, Liberty, Gen. George B. McClellan, Gen.
Robert E. Lee, and Half Dollar.
Artist: William Marks Simpson
Reverse - Battle of Antietam Anniversary Half
The reverse or back of the coin features the Burnside Bridge and the date of the Battle of Antietam.
The coinage inscriptions read Seventy-fifth Anniversary, Battle of Antietam 1937, E Pluribus Unum, The Burnside
Bridge, and September 17 1862.
Artist: William Marks Simpson
Commentary - Battle of Antietam
Anniversary Half Dollar
The stated mintage was "not to exceed fifty thousand silver 50-cent pieces" and "coined at one mint only."
Records show the Philadelphia Mint produced 18,028 of the Battle of Antietam Anniversary half dollar coins,
which is less than the 25,000 specified for delivery in SEC 2 of the law.
With many commemorative coins in the mid-1930s along with a weak economy, the interest in the new
The coin pictured above resides in an NGC holder and is graded as an MS-65. (NGC, Numismatic Guaranty
Corporation, provides coin grading and certification services.)
Versions of the coin also exist across a variety of the grades.
General McClellan cut General Burnside's forces in half and held them back from the fighting with General Lee's
Much later Burnside entered the battle but struggled to cross the Antietam.
On September 17, 1862, Burnside finally seized a bridge, crossed the water and started a thrust toward
Sharpsburg to turn Lee’s southern flank.
But, General McClellan did not send troops to assist Burnside, and he was attacked from the rear.
Unsupported by McClellan, General Burnside returned to the bridge.
President Lincoln wanted a dramatic win for the Union Army at Antietam.
The Union Army won, but both armies suffered many losses of life and many wounded soldiers making
the win a small satisfaction.
After the battle, General McClellan did not send troops in pursuit of Lee’s retreating army.
Colonel Ezra Carman, who survived the bloody Battle of Antietam, wrote the most detailed tactical study of
Colonel Carman observed that on September 17, 1862, “more errors were committed by the Union commander than
in any other battle of the war.”
Lincoln became frustrated with McClellan.
Lincoln rarely visited the fighting front, but in early October, Lincoln went to McClellan at his Antietam
headquarters to urge him to pursue Lee's Confederate forces.
While there, Lincoln posed with McClellan and his staff for a photograph at their tents in Antietam.
Visit our GACS Numismatic Shoppe Battle of Antietam Anniversary for a
variety of useful items decorated with images of the classic commemorative silver half dollar coin.