According to records, only four original Confederate half dollars were struck (on a hand press). Regular silver planchets were used, as well as a regular federal obverse die. One of the coins was given to Secretary of the Treasury Christopher G. Memminger, who passed it on to President Jefferson Davis for his approval. Another was given to Professor J.L. Riddell of the University of Louisiana. E. Ames of New Orleans received a third specimen. The last was kept by chief coiner B.F. Taylor. Lack of bullion prevented the Confederacy from coining more pieces.
The Confederate half dollar was unknown to collectors until 1879, when a specimen and its reverse die were found in Taylor’s possession in New Orleans. E. Mason Jr., of Philadelphia, purchased both and later sold them to J.W. Scott and Company of New York. J.W. Scott acquired 500 genuine 1861 half dollars, smoothed the reverses, and then restamped them with the Confederate die. Known as restrikes, these usually have slightly flattened obverses. Scott also struck some medals in white metal using the Confederate reverse die and an obverse die bearing this inscription: 4 ORIGINALS STRUCK BY ORDER OF C.S. A. IN NEW ORLEANS 1861 / ******* / REV. SAME AS U.S. (FROM ORIGINAL DIE?SCOTT)