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Coin and Paper Money Collecting/Half dollar Harvard Yale 1875/1890 coin



I have an 1875 half dollar, front is the normal coin, back has been filed down and engraved with the score and location of the Harvard Yale football game from 1890.  I believe the 1875 coin was used as that was the first year  that Harvard and Yale played.  The 1890 game was the last game of the season and was Harvards first national championship.  Curios to know whether it was given to alumni or players or possible was used for the coin toss and engraved later.  Realize that this is not a standard coin but thought you may have seen one before.  thank you, Mike

Hi Mike,
That certainly is an interesting piece!  In the 1800's, it was common for people to polish out the back of a coin and re-engrave it with anything from designs, initials, etc.
Why this piece was done, is anybody's guess.  The first place I would look is at HARVARD or YALE.  See where the game was played in 1890 and that may give you a starting point.  If the coin was engraved to commemorate the game, it could have any possible story behind it.

I have not handled a piece like this, so I am in the same position you are.  But it sounds like it will be fun to research it.  Start with the 2 schools, maybe even call the athletic departments of each.  There may be some tradition between the coaches of the 2 schools to present the winner with such a coin, supplied by the loser.  Maybe like a small bet?

Good luck with that, and when you find something out, please enlighten me!

Best regards
Joe Hylas

Coin and Paper Money Collecting

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Joe Hylas


Numismatic professional with over 30 years experience can answer your questions about US coins, their values, how best to sell them and where to buy them. Interested in starting a collection? Find out which areas are undervalued and how to acquire those coins at the best price.


Ex-Head Precious Metals trader for Deak-Perera International with 42 offices worldwide. Industry experience since 1978. Has worked co-operatively with US Mint, Royal Canadian Mint, Austrian Mint, Chamber of Mines of South Africa, World Gold Council and Platinum Guild International. Professioanl numismatist specializing in US Coins. Always buying collections, will travel if size of collection warrants. Website: www.AllCoins.US

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