Tuesday, July 26, 2011

1863 Civil War Token

Back during the Civil War there was a real shortage of coinage. The reason was that so much of the available materials were going toward the war effort. As a result some stores and other enterprising individuals started making their own coins. These are often referred to as War or Hard Times Tokens. The idea was to get them into circulation and hopefully attract business. This 1863 token is quite unique in that it carried a political message on the reserve. “Millions for Defence Not One Cent for Tribute” It turns out that during the war a lot of US merchant ships were being hijacked by Pirates and other foreign powers. As a result the US government started paying tribute or bribery to these people to leave our ships alone. This token was advocating that the government use that tribute money to increase the size of our Navy in order to protect those ships instead of paying their tribute.

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