Hard Times & Merchant Tokens

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by Randy Abercrombie, Dec 3, 2020.

  1. Randy Abercrombie

    Randy Abercrombie Supporter! Supporter

    Heritage is having an active auction on these and I just spent an hour perusing them. I truly had no idea that private strikes were so widespread in the mid nineteenth century. Most of them were struck with a merchants name, ship builders, watchmakers, dry goods stores, etc.... Crude designs all the way up to very lovely and well crafted designs... Were these generally accepted as currency in the mid 1800's?
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  3. The Eidolon

    The Eidolon Well-Known Member

    Most of the one's I've seen were Civil War Era. Did you mean then or earlier?
    In the UK merchant tokens were very common from the late 1700s to early 1800s as well. Merchant tokens tend to show up whenever the convertibility of paper money is suspended (Napoleonic Wars in the UK, Civil War in the US) as that drives minor silver money out of circulation. Or in remote places like pre-Dominion Canada where it took a long time for adequate silver money to diffuse into the economy.
  4. Randy Abercrombie

    Randy Abercrombie Supporter! Supporter

    I am quite familiar with Civil War tokens and own a collection of them myself. These were all from the period just prior to the Civil War. The bulk of them were dated in the 1850's.
    The Eidolon and Inspector43 like this.
  5. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    It's been awhile but as I recall reading somewhere a long time ago, coins were hard to get so merchants made tokens. These tokens were accepted as payment locally but not over distances. Don't quote me but that's the best I can remember.
  6. Pickin and Grinin

    Pickin and Grinin Well-Known Member

    I will quote you. Tokens during the "hard times" kept commerce moving, they were usually given to the good patrons of a business, then traded for like tokens based on need.

    They were more than beneficial to our society.
    Collecting Nut likes this.
  7. kazuma78

    kazuma78 Supporter! Supporter

    Most in the upcoming Heritage auction are hard times tokens. I have my eye on a couple I've been wanting for a long time. I'm hoping that because there are so many and so many duplicates of each type that there might be some reasonable buys to be had. We shall see!
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