A commemorative half dollar was issued to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam, during which General McClellan thwarted General Lee’s invasion of Maryland. This followed a separate coin recently issued for the anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.
The obverse of the Battle of Antietam Half Dollar features the profile portraits of General George B. McClellan and General Robert E. Lee. The numerous inscriptions include “United States of America”, “Half Dollar”, “In God We Trust”, “Liberty”, “Gen. George B. McClellan”, and “Gen. Robert E. Lee”.
On the reverse of the coin is an image of the Burnside Bridge, which was an important tactical objective of the battle. The surrounding inscriptions read “Seventy-Fifth Anniversary Battle of Antietam”, “1937”, “E Pluribus Unum”, “The Burnside Bridge”, and “September 17 1862”. The designs for the coin were created by William Marks Simpson, who had also designed the recent commemorative issues for the Norfolk and Roanoke Island. All of these coins include an unusually large number of inscriptions.
A maximum of 50,000 pieces were authorized to be produced. The entire number was struck at the Philadelphia Mint and send to the Washington County Historical Society, which offered the 1937 Antietam Half Dollars for $1.65 each. The general market for commemorative coins had declined by this time and sales were slow. Eventually 32,000 pieces were returned to the mint for melting. Of the three Civil War themed early commemoratives (Stone Mountain, Gettysburg, and Antietam), the final issue had the lowest mintage.
Antietam Half Dollar Coin Specifications
Designer: William Marks Simpson
Composition: 90% silver, 10% copper
Weight: 12.50 grams
Diameter: 30.6 mm
Authorization: Public Law 75-160
Maximum Authorized Mintage: 50,000
Antietam Half Dollar Mintage