A Civil War Token

During the US Civil War, the country did not have enough federal coinage to circulate freely. With the fears of the war, Americans hoarded their coins, leaving fewer coins for day-to-day trade.

To combat the shortages, private companies and individuals minted their own tokens to circulate like coins. The tokens were about the same size and weight as the US one cent.

Some of these tokens portrayed patriotic themes, while others displayed advertisements for the merchants who produced them. The tokens traded freely alongside federal coins.

This token from 1863 is in average circulated condition. It shows signs of pitting on the obverse. It features the head of Lady Liberty and “Army & Navy” on the reverse. It is a common piece.

Civil War Token, obverse

Civil War Token, reverse