1861 Confederate States Half-Dollar
After the secession of Louisiana in January of 1861, the United States Mint in New Orleans passed into the hands of the Confederacy. Lacking the necessary metal reserves to produce coinage, the Confederacy chose to issue paper money instead. However, there were four known test strikings of Confederate half-dollars that eventually made their way into the hands of private collectors. Today, one of the four is in the collection of the American Numismatic Society, while the other three are in private collections. Because of its rarity, the genuine coin is essentially priceless; even the 1879 restrikes of this famous coin can go for close to $10,000.