WAR CENTS:
AN 1886 PERSPECTIVE

(Civil War Tokens)

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Jess Gaylor: "In the same issue ("The American Numismatist", Vol. I, No. 1. Paterson, NJ, September,
1886) is the following article, written by its editor C. E. Leal:

WAR CENTS

Small change became so scarce in 1862 that store-keepers and other persons began to issue this private currency to supply the deficiency; and they continued to coin them in immense quantities until 1864, when the Government, to protect itself, was compelled to prohibit their further coinage or circulation. The first coinage of War Cents, or Tokens, or Store Cards, as they were sometimes called, took place in Cincinnati where nearly 900 varieties were issued, fully three times as many varieties as any other city issued except New York. A number of other Western cities soon followed the example of Cincinnati, but it was not until the early part of 1863 that New York began to issue the famous Lindenmuller cents, of which there were more than a million coined; these were followed by the Knickerbocker tokens, consisting of many varieties. Altogether there were between 600 and 700 varieties issued from New York City. Ohio issued about 1300 varieties from 100 different cities and towns, more than any other state issued; New York State comes next after Ohio, with over 900 varieties.

When the Government stopped the coinage of these tokens there were upward of 20,000,000 of them in circulation, but there are in all probability not more than 1,000,000 in existence at the present time. In my estimation War Cents comprise one of the principal branches in Numismatics, and should occupy a prominent place in the cabinet of every American collector. It is impossible now to obtain a complete collection for any sum of money; but $25 or $30 should buy a very good collection for an amateur.


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