Because of the gold rush in North Carolina and Georgia in the 1830's the US Congress passed a bill in 1835 creating branch mints at New Orleans, Louisiana; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Dahlonega, Georgia. As these states seceeded in 1861, the mints were turned over the Confederacy.
Some coins were produced under Confederate control: half dollars and double eagles from New Orleans, gold dollars and half eagles from Dahlonega, and half eagles from Charlotte.
New Orleans Mint
According to one source the South used the New Orleans Mint to produce more than $500,000 in gold and silver U.S. coins.
In April, 1861 Confederate Secretary of the Treasury Memminger ordered that designs for CSA half dollars be submitted for approval. It was found for some reason the dies at the New Orleans Mint could not be fitted to the regular coining press, so it was necessary to use the old hand screw press, upon which four coins were struck. About this time an order came from the secretary suspending operations on account of the difficulty of obtaining bullion, and the mint was closed on April 30, 1861. On May 14 the Confederate Congress voted to close all three mints effective June 1, 1861.
Only two Confederate half dollars are known to survive, and are worth around one million dollars each.
Confederate Half Dollar
After the closure of the mints, it became difficult to make change in the Confederacy. In 1863 the first 50 cent note was issued, and another was issued in 1864.
Although the mints had ceased production, the desire to establish some sort of Southern metallic currency never died out. An alternative to coinage that was discussed was a copper token coinage. The New Orleans Mint Superintendent, William A. Elmore told Treasury Secretary Memminger that dies could be ordered at an average cost of one hundred dollars to strike copper tokens in denominations of one, five, and twenty-five cents. But both houses of the Confederate Congress did not approve the bill, and after October 13, 1862, they never again attempted to establish a system of token coinage.
The Confederate Congress dealt with the problem instead by making U.S. silver coins legal tender up to 10 dollars, along with English sovereigns, French napoleons, and Spanish and Mexican doubloons.