United States Tokens have more recently become popular among collectors and numismatic hobbyists. There are many different styles on the market for new and seasoned Token collectors to enjoy, however, they are much harder to find than most coins because of their rarity. Like with most collectible items, some Tokens are more scarce and valuable than others, especially those that have an interesting history.
If you take delight in adding Tokens to your collection and want to get your hands on some amazingly rare finds, Capital Gold Group can help. We’re able to source the most coveted pieces out there, so please don’t hesitate to contact us for expert assistance. For now, you can read more about the Tokens that are strongly desired by many, from Hard Times Tokens and Civil War Tokens to American Plantations Tokens.
Hard Times Tokens
Struck from 1832 to 1844, Hard Times Tokens were minted privately and mostly composed of copper. They were first issued around 1837 in response to political and financial crisis in America and when the banks suspended the exchange of coins for paper money. Hard Times Token are approximately the same size as the Half Cent and feature various designs, some relating to political events of the era and others advertising certain merchants and their offerings.
The earlier specimens tend to display political or satirical images including commentaries on Andrew Jackson, William Seward, Martin Van Buren and Daniel Webster. One of the most popular designs from this period shows a slave bound in chains encircled by AM I NOT A WOMAN & A SISTER. This Hard Times Token was released in 1838 and features a wreath on the reverse.
Hard Times Tokens were the result of a coin shortage when Americans began hoarding and removing coins from circulation after the banks stopped issuing coins for payments. This was due to President Andrew Jackson’s decision to abolish the Second Bank of the United States, which eventually led to the Panic of 1837, otherwise known as the “Hard Times.”
Civil War Tokens
During the Civil War, private minters and die sinkers found a way to profit from the scarcity of coins by producing Tokens. Some of these tokens featured patriotic symbols and others showed advertisements. Many Civil War Tokens were designed to make the public believe they were in possession of official United States coins, which led the government to ban the private minting and use of these Tokens in 1864.
Civil War Tokens started to appear in 1862 when the public began hoarding government-issued gold, silver and copper-nickel coins. The Tokens were mostly used in the Midwest and Northeast, with around 8,000 to 9,000 varieties circulating by 1863. While the majority of Civil War Tokens were minted using copper, others were composed of bronze, nickel, silver or tin. The Indian Head Tokens and Flying Eagle Tokens were among the most popular in circulation during the Civil War because they looked so similar to the genuine Cent pieces that they were supposed to resemble.
On June 8, 1864, Congress passed a law which made it illegal to produce and use Civil War Tokens. Even though it was not a criminal offence to actually own the tokens, anyone found minting or using them would face a $2,000 fine or five years in prison.
American Plantations Tokens
Produced under the reign of King James II, Plantations Tokens were made in England but were created for use in the American colonies. Composed of tin, these Tokens were designed to help the tin mining industry in Great Britain after it experienced a depression in the late 1670s.
On the obverse of the Token is King Charles II on horseback. The horse is shown with its two front legs in the air, supported by its two back feet on the ground. King Charles II and his horse are surrounded by the engraving IACOBVS . II . DG . MAG . BRI . FRAN . ET . HIB . REX, which is a Latin legend that translates as “James II by the grace of God King of Great Britain, France and Ireland.” A ring of beads has been placed around the edge of the obverse, encircling the inscription.
The reverse displays the shields of England, Scotland, Ireland and France, all of which are linked together by a chain. Four crowns can be seen on this side of the coin, one above each shield. A ring of beads surrounds the inscription VAL . 24 PART . REAL . HISPAN ., which translated into English reads “Value a 24th part of a Spanish real.”
When the price of tin collapsed in the late 1670s, the tin mine owners of Cornwall and Devonshire in the UK were devastated. While they had plenty of tin, their mines had become valueless. In order for them to sell their now virtually worthless tin, they suggested their tin be used to mint coins for Great Britain. The Tower Mint agreed that it was a good idea and began producing tin farthings and tin halfpence for domestic circulation in 1684.
Delighted with themselves for finding a good use for their tin and making more money than ever because of it, the tin mine owners had another brainwave a few years later. They put forward the idea of creating a Plantation Token mode of tin for the American colonies. Tin mine agent Richard Holt filed a petition to King James II, requesting the right to produce the tokens. In 1688, Holt was sent a royal patent, giving him permission to make the American Plantations Token.
The Tower Mint quickly began coining the American Plantations Tokens, which were composed of 97.5% pure tin. These tokens were valued at 1/24th of a Spanish real, rather than pence. It is believed that an engraver named James Roettier designed the tokens with King Charles II on the obverse and the four shields on the reverse. Only a few weeks after the tokens were first minted, the Glorious Revolution had succeeded in ousting King James II and replacing him with Dutch Stadtholder, William of Orange. Because of this, the production of coinage and tokens was interrupted.
Unfortunately, written records are unclear as to how many American Plantations Tokens were struck but it is generally believed that they were produced in small numbers. Also, no one is certain as to where the American Plantations Tokens ended up or how long they circulated in the American colonies. What we do know is that these pieces are extremely rare and highly coveted, regardless of condition.
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