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US Commemorative Coin Series: Quick Bits #13 - Stars On The 1937 Antietam

 
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 Posted 01/26/2021  8:14 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
This installment of my "Quick Bits" series takes a quick look at the stars found on the 1937 Antietam half dollar - there are a total of five, all on the coin's obverse. Do you know why there are only five?

Two stars are seen near the left rim below the coin's vertical center, flanking "IN GOD WE TRUST." These stars are meant to symbolize the rank of William McClellan, he was a Major General in the Union Army which accorded him two stars on his collar. (McClellan's portrait is depicted on the coin to the left, behind Lee's.)

Union General George B. McClellan (with two stars on shoulder vs. collar)


In the same vertical position near the right rim are seen three stars, these represent Robert E. Lee's rank of General in the Confederate Army. Some descriptions of the coin indicate that the three stars represent Lee's last rank (Colonel) while within the Union Army, others have stated that the three stars recognized Lee's preference to wear the three stars of a Confederate Colonel. The latter is close to correct, the former not so much.

In actual fact, the official insignia for a Confederate General and a Confederate Colonel each featured three stars. The difference was that for a General, the three stars were encircled by a wreath whereas a Confederate Colonel wore three stars w/o a wreath. Lee did, however, demonstrate a preference for the unadorned three stars of a Colonel, almost always wearing just three stars on his collar (sans wreath); the wreath insignia can be seen in photographs of other Confederate Generals.

Confederate General Robert E. Lee (with three stars on collar, no wreath)


Confederate General Benjamin Huger (with three stars within wreath on collar)


So, the three stars used by William Marks Simpson for his Antietam half dollar design were accurate in number for a Confederate General if not in actual arrangement (which was likely his intention so that the stars fit unobtrusively with his design's overall aesthetic).




You can read more about the coin here: 1937 Battle of Antietam Half Dollar and here: 1937 Battle of Antietam Half Dollar - Revisited.


Also. Read More: Commems Collection


Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
Edited by commems
01/27/2021 3:53 pm
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 Posted 01/26/2021  8:24 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Coinfrog to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks from all of us as always!
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 Posted 01/26/2021  9:16 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add psuman08 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Learned something again. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!
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 Posted 01/26/2021  11:18 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add PNWType to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
What a cool fact! I know there will come a day when I too own an Antietam half and now I know more about it
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 Posted 01/27/2021  05:23 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add nickelsearcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Very nice commems - always has been one of my favorite design in the series and now I know more about it.
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 Posted 01/27/2021  10:34 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
A fascinating bit of information unknown to me before today.
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 Posted 01/27/2021  3:45 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Bump111 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
This is one that has been on my wish list for years. The time is probably now to jump on these, but you know I'm a low buck collector!

Thank you for yet another insightful look into your research on the classic commemoratives. I never knew about the wreath indicating general officer rank. Always thought the stars were all that were used.
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 Posted 01/27/2021  4:22 pm  Show Profile   Check rggoodie's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add rggoodie to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for sharing.
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 Posted 01/27/2021  7:44 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@All: Your comments about learning something new about the Antietam half dollar are like music to my ears! It's always my intent to bring something "new" to the table in my posts! I'm glad you enjoyed my latest effort!

Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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