1863 CH Original Civil War Token

Short History of the Civil War Tokens

1863 CH Original Civil War Token

Civil war tokens were produced during the Civil war, the majority were created and were in popular circulation between 1863 and 1964. There were three types of tokens; store cards, patriotic tokens and sulter tokens. Production came to an end when the bronze federal cent was introduced back into circulation by the government in 1864.

Short History of the Civil War Tokens

In 1862, during the civil war, coins minted and distributed by the government disappeared from circulation. The public responded by hoarding silver coins, gold coins and copper-nickel cents. Amidst the rampant stockpiling of coins, businesses could not operate due to the lack of sufficient currency to handle transactions. Businesses resorted to postage stamps, paper script and tokens to replace traditional currency, when conducting business transactions. Private companies exploited this opportunity and began to produce tradesman's tokens and tokens anonymously issued with political or patriotic themes.

Political and patriotic tokens were produced at a profit by privately owned companies and was sent into circulation, with no identification to the issuer. A number of these pieces were used as money to buy products and services. Circulation of these tokens were high in Union States that were east of the Mississippi River. It's speculated that more than 50,000,000 of these pieces were distributed.

Features of Civil War Tokens

Tradesman tokens were different in device and size, the insignia and message were completely up to the creator of the piece. Some were printed with political slogans while others carried the resemblance to a military leader. Most of these tokens were made from copper or brass material. The majority of civil war tokens were one-cent in value and were similar in diameter to a U.S. Indian Head cent. Tokens that were produced for the amounts of 5, 10 and 25 cents were limited in variety and quantity. Around 10,000 various civil war tokens have been documented.

The legal status of Civil war tokens was never established. Mint Director James Pollock believed that they were fraudulent or counterfeit. Despite his opinion, no laws existed banning the issue or production of civil war tokens, or any private coins as long as they were not an imitation of a government issued currency.

In April of 1864 the government passed a law prohibiting privately distributed one-or two cent coins, tokens, or devices utilized as currency. On June 8, 1864 an additional law made any type of private coinage illegal.

Here at Chula Vista Coin Civil War Tokens may vary, call in advance for availability to own a piece of U.S. History.