Civil War Tokens

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Last new tokens added: September 12, 2014                                        Last updated for sold items: October 22, 2014

New items were added to Patriotic and Michigan Civil War tokens. 

CIVIL WAR PATRIOTIC vs. STORE CARDS:

Regular issue US coinage was hoarded during the Civil War restricting merchant's ability to make small change.  Some merchants had tokens made to give out as change in their stores.  If you ordered the least expensive tokens you would receive a combination of two existing dies, usually of a patriotic nature or similar to a US cent, these are called Patriotic Civil War Tokens.  If you had more to spend you could have one or two dies custom made for you with information specific to your business (i.e. location, occupation, specialties, etc.) these are called Civil War Store Cards.

COMPOSITION OF CIVIL TOKENS:

Civil War tokens were manufactured in a number of different metallic compositions as well as rubber.  In the cataloging of these tokens the composition is indicated by a lower case letter at the end of the Fuld number.  The following is a list of the codes used.

a   

   

  Copper

b   

   

  Brass

c   

   

  Nickel (Has been removed from the latest book as actually German Silver)

d   

   

  Copper-Nickel

e   

   

  White Metal

f   

   

   Silver

g   

   

  Lead

h   

   

  Hard Rubber

i   

   

   Zinc (Has been removed from latest book as actually Tin Plated)

j   

   

   German Silver

k   

   

  Gilt

m   

   

 Tin (Usually plated brass, formerly listed as Zinc)

RARITY RATINGS:

The rarity scale for Civil War tokens is listed below.  Most collectors collect by town, merchant or die. Very few try to get one of each die combination and metal composition.  So value is determined more by supply and demand than by individual rarity.  Additionally, more than a few pieces have incorrect rarity ratings (both over and under rated) in current references due to outdated information, hoards, mistakes or typo's.  

R1   

   

Very Common more than 5,000 estimated to exist

R2   

   

Common 2,000 to 4,999 estimated to exist

R3   

   

500 to 1,999 estimated to exist

R4   

   

200 to 499 estimated to exist

R5   

   

Scarce 75 to 199 estimated to exist

R6   

   

Very Scarce 20 to 74 estimated to exist

R7   

   

Rare 10 to 19 estimated to exist

R8   

   

Very Rare 5 to 9 estimated to exist

R9   

   

Extremely Rare 2 to 4 estimated to exist

R10   

   

Unique only one estimated to exist

LINKS:

http://coins.www.collectors-society.com/wcm/CoinCustomSetView.aspx?s=1365 An NGC registry set of some of the rarest patriotic dies and varieties.

http://stevetanenbaum.com/  Memorial site for token dealer Steve Tanenbaum.

http://www.cwtsociety.com  The site of the Civil War Token Society.

http://cwtoken.com/Civil_War_Token_Type_Set/Home.html  Lots of interesting information for the beginner or advanced collector.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/cwexonumia/ A Civil War token CWT discussion board.

http://home.comcast.net/~bluitje104189mi/  An informative site with Civil War die photos and much more.

http://www.medalcollectors.org  This is the site of the Medal Collectors of America and contains much useful information.

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