1837 and 1838 Large Cents and Their Hard Times Token Counterparts

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by johnmilton, Apr 21, 2021.

  1. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    The Panic of 1837 was a particularly nasty economic depression that lasted for almost six years. It was a period of great hardship for many working class Americans when the “safety nets” that we take for granted, like unemployment insurance and food stamps, were not available.

    During this period there was a shortage of circulating coinage. Private issuers picked up the slack with tokens that sometimes resembled the large cents of the period. Some of these pieces presented political messages, usually against the Democratic Party, which was in power until March 1841, while others were politically neutral. Collectors now call this series of pieces the Hard Times Tokens (a.k.a. HTTs).

    Here are a couple of large cents and two Hard Times Tokens that was issued during the period. The tokens are just two pieces I picked at random from my collection. There are many other varieties.

    An 1837 Large Cent

    1837 Cent All.jpg

    A Typical "Millions for Defense, Not One Cent for Tribute" HTT

    Low 32 All.jpg

    The "Loco Foco" HTT - The Loco Focos were a radical wing of the Democratic Party. At one evening Democratic Party meeting, the regular Democrats shut off the gas lights in the hall to shut the Loco Focos down. They took out their "Loco Foco" brand matches, lit some candles and continued their meeting.

    The opposition Whig Party tried to paint all Democrats as Loco Focos. This political token features an unattractive head of "Lady Loco Foco" on the obverse. The reverse wording, "Benton Currency" and "Mint Drop" refer to Senator Thomas Hart Benton and the slang name the Whigs had for the gold coins that collectors now call the Classic Head $2.50 and $5.00 pieces. Benton, who was Andrew Jackson's right hand man in the Senate, proposed the legislation that lead to the Classic Head coinage.

    Low 55 All.jpg

    Here is an 1838 Large Cent.

    1838 Cent All.jpg

    I have some other Hard Times Tokens, but now it's your turn. Post any Hard Times Tokens that you might have.
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  3. jerryc39

    jerryc39 Well-Known Member

    not sure this counts as a hard times token but here she is. Beautiful coins you posted johnmilton. 362DDA2E-453A-4133-A5E8-B49A007B19CA_1_105_c.jpeg
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  4. Mr.Q

    Mr.Q Well-Known Member

    Very nice collection, thanks for sharing them.
    johnmilton likes this.
  5. wxcoin

    wxcoin Getting no respect for 65 years

    Once again, a nice post from you.
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  6. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    Yes, the Feuchtwanger cent, and his Hard Times era three cent pieces are part of the Hard Times Token series. He also issued three cent pieces during the Civil War. I never coughed up the big bucks for one of those. Here is Hard Times era three cent piece.

    By the way, that's is a wonderful Feuchtwanger Cent!

    Feuch 3 Cent O.jpg Feuch 3 Cent R.jpg
  7. jerryc39

    jerryc39 Well-Known Member

    Thanks johnmilton
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  8. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Supporter! Supporter

    Another great post with educational information. Thanks John.
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  9. ksparrow

    ksparrow Coin Hoarder Supporter

    Great thread and history lesson once again, JM. I really enjoy collecting HTTs as a "subsidiary collection."
    City Coal  obv.jpg City Coal  rev.jpg crossman obv rev.jpg crossman obv.jpg Hog Bristles obv.jpg Hog Bristles rev.jpg
  10. ksparrow

    ksparrow Coin Hoarder Supporter

  11. John Wright

    John Wright Well-Known Member

    John, your writeup is beautiful, and your coins are even MORE beautiful. Your large cents are 37N11 and 38N4. Your 37N11 is the strongest impression (or at least the strongest image) I have ever seen of the doubled stars #9,10,11. THANK YOU for this!
    1837 N-11 Star10 Early #2.jpg
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  12. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    John, coming from you, that is a tremendous complement. Although I don’t collect cents by die variety, I have greatly enjoyed your Cent Book.

    I have dabbled with the idea of a date set of large cents, but it has been an on again, off again project. The large cents I have were pieces that appealed to me, which were not scare or rare die varieties to keep the coats down.

    Maybe I will get back to this collection once the coin shows start up. Nothing beats being able to see the coins in person before you buy them.

    The big problems for me are the 1799 and 1804 cents because they are so expensive in decent condition. I have owned the 1793 cents for many years because they are type coins.
    John Wright likes this.
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