Large Cent -JAMES A. GARFIELD 1869 MENTOR O
So this is what we have... a worn large cent- likely from the 1830s, however it is worn so no date can be seen so it can not even be graded unless an expert could ID the coin by die variety but I doubt that is possible given the wear that literally obliterates much of the coin.
The interest is in the reverse- starting shortly before 9 o'clock and punched into the coin in capital letters and replacing UNITED STATES OF AMERICA with JAMES A. GARFIELD which ends just past 3 o'clock. At the bottom starting at about 7 o'clock and ending at about 4 o'clock is MENTOR O. Directly above that and direct below the remains of CENT is the year 1869
So the question is... what is it?
Before I posted this here, I attempted to complete some research. There was a series of events involving gold speculation in September of 1869. The so-called "Black Friday" event that transpired created a set of problems ranging from economic issues to legal and ethical issues for those involved. The Readers Digest super condensed version is that there was an issue with gold speculation and how the Grant Administration was attempting to reduce the Federal deficit. Garfield was in the House of Representatives and chaired the committee that investigated the gold panic of 1869.
I tend to doubt that this is a Presidential campaign token as there is simply no reference to the Office of President or the year of 1880. I doubt that it is a memorial piece created after Garfield was shot. So maybe it is one of these strange items created in 1869 shortly after this event and investigation blew over.
Experience the World through Numismatics...it's more than you can imagine.