Classic Coins - Battle of
Gettysburg Anniversary Half Dollar
The US Mint produced the Battle of Gettysburg Anniversary Half Dollar Classic Commemorative Coin
with a 1936 coinage date to remember the 75th anniversary of the historic battle of 1863 and to recognize
the men who fought wearing the blue and the gray uniforms.
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 16, 1936, the second session of the 74th Congress approved an act which became Public Law
74-690 that authorized "the coinage of 50-cent pieces in commemoration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the
Battle of Gettysburg."
The law began, "That in commemoration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, there shall
be coined at a mint 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 1936, 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 a committee of not less than eight persons duly authorized by the Governor of the State of
Pennsylvania, 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 the enactment of this Act. Such coins may be disposed of at par or at a premium by such
committee, 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 Gettysburg
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: 1936
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 $295 (low grade - XF) to $900 (high grade - MS-66).
Extraordinary characteristics on the Battle of Gettysburg Anniversary Half Dollar can command a price outside
the estimated value range.
Obverse - Battle of Gettysburg Anniversary Half
The obverse or front of the coin shows the profile images of Union and Confederate Soldiers.
The coinage inscriptions say, United States of America, Blue and Gray Reunion, Liberty, and E Pluribus Unum.
Artist: Frank Vittor
Reverse - Battle of Gettysburg Anniversary Half
The reverse or back of the coin features a fasces—a bundle of sticks bound around an axe—in the middle of
two shields, one of the Union and one of the Confederacy, and supported by sprays of oak and laurel.
The coinage inscriptions read 1863, 75th Anniversary, 1938, Battle of Gettysburg, In God We Trust, 1936, and
Artist: Frank Vittor
Commentary - Battle of Gettysburg
Anniversary Half Dollar
The stated mintage was "not to exceed fifty thousand silver 50-cent pieces" and "coined at a mint."
Records show the Philadelphia Mint produced 26,928 of the Battle of Gettysburg Anniversary half dollar coins,
which is not a multiple of 25,000 as per the delivery number specified in SEC 2 of the law.
With many commemorative coins in the mid-1930s, perhaps there was not enough interest in the coin.
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.
In November 1861, Henry Thomas Harrison was discharged from the Militia and eventually became a spy for CSA
Secretary of War, James Seddon.
In April 1863, Harrison met James Longstreet during the Battle of Suffolk.
Harrison provided information for Longstreet, one of Lee's top generals, which usually proved to be
To retain the loyalty of his prized spy, Longstreet frequently paid Harrison in U.S. gold coins and/or
One night in June 1863, Harrison came to General Robert E. Lee with information about the Union
Though Lee did not know Harrison, he knew about his information, plus Longstreet's chief of staff
claimed that Harrison "always brought true information."
Harrison reported that the Union had left Frederick, Maryland, and was moving northward, which was true.
As a result of Harrison's information, Lee told all of his troops to converge on a small Pennsylvania town,
Gettysburg, effectively selecting the site of the Battle of Gettysburg.
Lee even said after hearing the news from Harrison, "A battle thus became, in a measure, unavoidable."
After Gettysburg, Harrison gathered intelligence while living in New York with his newly wed wife, Laura
Broders, yet none of his intelligence ever matched the importance of that shared just prior to the Battle of
General James Longstreet was born in South Carolina, but he considered Georgia home and died in Gainesville,
Georgia in 1904.
A fine general, Longstreet made many enemies after the war that changed historical references.
One comment states, "The lies spread by the anti-Longstreet cabal were the 'official' history, but to those
who knew better, official history didn't matter."
The Union and Confederate armies began fighting in Gettysburg on July 1 where Lee's Confederate troops folded
With both armies amassed on the second day, heavy fighting cost the Union army, but they held positions.
On the third day, the Confederate army charged a fortified ridge and were repulsed at a great loss. Both armies
lost almost 51,000 men over the three-day battle.
On July 13, 1863, the last of General Robert E. Lee's troops crossed the Potomac River headed south.
In July 1913, approximately 54,000 veterans reunite for the 50th Anniversary of the battle. Veterans of
Pickett's Charge reenact the attack on July 3rd but shake hands with their former enemies upon reaching the
For the 75th Anniversary in 1938, President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicates the Eternal Light Peace Memorial
with over 1,800 battle veterans in attendance.
In July 2013, the town celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.
Visit our GACS Numismatic Shoppe Battle of Gettysburg Anniversary for
a variety of useful items decorated with images of the classic commemorative silver half dollar coin.