The Treasury Secretary of the new Confederate government, Christopher G. Memminger, feared the cost of production of an autonomous coinage and did not make it a priority. The project of a half dollar in April 1861 will be the only example of a trial for a Confederate silver coinage.
This half dollar is designed by the substitution of a new die on the front side, showing the coat of arms with the seven stars of the secessionist states. The rest of it is unchanged, including the stars on the reverse side reminding the thirteen original states of the Union.
On the following month, the Confederate government closed the factory in New Orleans, claiming a stock shortage that was a false argument, perhaps just to hide the fact that the remaining federal property could serve as a war treasure. The new die of the half dollar was in high relief, perhaps easier to create for the tooling but much more difficult for coin production. The project fell into oblivion, without regret for anyone.
A first coin surfaced in 1879. A former official of the New Orleans mint was consulted and said that only four units had been made. The other three reappeared later.
Two of the four are in private hands. One of them, graded PR30 by NGC, was sold for 880K including premium by Heritage on January 8, 2015. It was probably the specimen which had been presented to President Jefferson Davis. The other one, graded PR40 by NGC, is for sale on March 26 by Stack's Bowers in Baltimore, lot 2583.