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The Red Book and the 1837 Half Cent Token

ldhairldhair Posts: 7,129 ✭✭✭✭✭

Any thought on how these became listed in the Red Book?

Larry

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    BillJonesBillJones Posts: 33,486 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This piece, which is a Hard Times Token, has long been included as a substitute coin in the half cent series for the 1837 date, when no half cents were issued. I remember in the 6os when was listed as "a token, not a coin" without a picture. The confusion ended for me when the picture appeared.

    Retired dealer and avid collector of U.S. type coins, 19th century presidential campaign medalets and selected medals. In recent years I have been working on a set of British coins - at least one coin from each king or queen who issued pieces that are collectible. I am also collecting at least one coin for each Roman emperor from Julius Caesar to ... ?
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    RogerBRogerB Posts: 8,852 ✭✭✭✭✭

    $4 Stellas are in a similar category; they don't belong in the regular coinage series.

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    TreashuntTreashunt Posts: 6,747 ✭✭✭✭✭

    R S Yeoman thought they were important enough to list

    Frank

    BHNC #203

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    TreashuntTreashunt Posts: 6,747 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Interesting, you made me check.

    The 1837 'token' was first listed in the 9th Edition, [1956].

    simply listed along with the 1/2 cents, it says: 1837 Token.... $6 unc, $15 Proof.

    no photos included

    Frank

    BHNC #203

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    ldhairldhair Posts: 7,129 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thank you Frank. I was wondering when it was added. Looks like the proof was dropped in later years. Wonder if the US Mint had anything to do with having these tokens made. I'm thinking they did make the stellas.

    Larry

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    BillJonesBillJones Posts: 33,486 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Treashunt said:
    Interesting, you made me check.

    The 1837 'token' was first listed in the 9th Edition, [1956].

    simply listed along with the 1/2 cents, it says: 1837 Token.... $6 unc, $15 Proof.

    no photos included

    Yes, "no photos include." That confused the devil out of me when I was young collector in the 1960s. All it said was "a token, not a coin." For those who are not familiar with this piece, here is an example.


    $4 Stellas are in a similar category; they don't belong in the regular coinage series.

    I agree. I don't understand why PCGS includes this coin in their gold type set registry. The Stella is a pattern, not a regular issue.

    Retired dealer and avid collector of U.S. type coins, 19th century presidential campaign medalets and selected medals. In recent years I have been working on a set of British coins - at least one coin from each king or queen who issued pieces that are collectible. I am also collecting at least one coin for each Roman emperor from Julius Caesar to ... ?
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    BroadstruckBroadstruck Posts: 30,497 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 27, 2017 6:05AM

    @ldhair said:
    I was wondering when it was added. Looks like the proof was dropped in later years. Wonder if the US Mint had anything to do with having these tokens made.

    No these are not a Federal Mint Issue as these where made by Scovill Mfg. Co. in Waterbury CT. Struck during the banking crisis as a necessity for commerce since anyone with the means to do so wasn't spending coined monies. It's been estimated that Hard Times Tokens consisted of about 26% of coinage exchanged in daily transactions then.

    As to the existence of a proof issue I purchased the only example I've ever seen with both obverse/reverse semi proof like surfaces pedigreed to Donald Miller. Miller was the most prominent Hard Times token collector in the 1950's who also absorbed most of the 1900-1920 assembled collections by top collectors such as George Tilden & Frank Shumway. The example posted by BillJones shows the normal strike generally always encountered on this issue. The surfaces luster wise even on high grade examples generally run from satiny to drab flat as I've never seen one with cartwheel type luster. As to proofs having been issued or collectors in the 1950's considering a fully struck head/claws early die strikes as possible being such we'll never know. Nevertheless the example below although I consider it just to be a EDS would be the type that might have been looked upon as a Proof or Special Presentation strike 70 years ago.

    Edited to add some more thoughts as to proof issues - As mentioned Hard Times Tokes had been crudely struck as a necessity. Scovill Manufacturing a brass button was selected as they already had water powered steam presses which could turn out barrels full pretty rapidly. Scovill in the 1830's wasn't a smaller die sinker shop working with a turn screw press to offer any sort of special collector strikes as the main emphasis was speed.

    To Err Is Human.... To Collect Err's Is Just Too Much Darn Tootin Fun!
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    CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 31,564 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I just asked Ken Bressett. Will report what he says.
    TD

    Numismatist. 50 year member ANA. Winner of four ANA Heath Literary Awards; three Wayte and Olga Raymond Literary Awards; Numismatist of the Year Award 2009, and Lifetime Achievement Award 2020. Winner numerous NLG Literary Awards.
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    dbldie55dbldie55 Posts: 7,719 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Very informative post.

    Collector and Researcher of Liberty Head Nickels. ANA LM-6053
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    rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Interesting... Will look forward to Ken's input.... Cheers, RickO

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    DentuckDentuck Posts: 3,812 ✭✭✭

    I've talked with Ken Bressett and Dave Bowers about these interesting pieces before. The tokens were so ubiquitous for so long, it's likely they were minted and wholesaled by the thousands (about $3 would buy 1,000 of them in 1837, wholesale). By the 1860s many coin collectors thought they were patterns. The tokens became generally well known in the hobby and were listed in Low's "Hard Times Tokens" and Rulau's "Standard Catalog." Probably the main reason the 1837 "Half Cent Worth of Pure Copper" token was included in the Red Book is because Wayte Raymond put a space for it in his "National" album for half cents. For R.S. Yeoman it was an educational entry in the Red Book, intended to explain to collectors what these pieces were --- and what they weren't.

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    BroadstruckBroadstruck Posts: 30,497 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That's right it's all Wayte Raymond's fault ;)

    To Err Is Human.... To Collect Err's Is Just Too Much Darn Tootin Fun!
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    DentuckDentuck Posts: 3,812 ✭✭✭

    @Broadstruck said:
    That's right it's all Wayte Raymond's fault

    LOL! I'm going by memory here. Ken's the authority, and he might have more information for CaptHenway.

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    CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 31,564 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Ken says he does not recall discussing the listing with Yeoman.

    Numismatist. 50 year member ANA. Winner of four ANA Heath Literary Awards; three Wayte and Olga Raymond Literary Awards; Numismatist of the Year Award 2009, and Lifetime Achievement Award 2020. Winner numerous NLG Literary Awards.
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    ldhairldhair Posts: 7,129 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I found this one about 25 years ago. It must have had help to have these colors.

    Larry

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    Bob1951Bob1951 Posts: 268 ✭✭

    Just being listed in the Red book adds value to the piece. I had to get one just because it was listed in the red book. I still have it.

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    BillJonesBillJones Posts: 33,486 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Those pieces have tendency to take on colors, Idhair. The examples that I have had displayed colors. It must have something to do with what’s in the piece, other than copper. It was issued by a private mint after all.

    What is strange is that a private mint would see a need for a half cent token, given the fact that the real thing was not very popular with the public.

    Retired dealer and avid collector of U.S. type coins, 19th century presidential campaign medalets and selected medals. In recent years I have been working on a set of British coins - at least one coin from each king or queen who issued pieces that are collectible. I am also collecting at least one coin for each Roman emperor from Julius Caesar to ... ?
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    ldhairldhair Posts: 7,129 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thanks Bill. I never thought of that. Always figured it was messed with. Maybe some of both.
    Any thought on the rims? I have seen this before but forgot what it is.

    Larry

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    BillJonesBillJones Posts: 33,486 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @ldhair said:
    Thanks Bill. I never thought of that. Always figured it was messed with. Maybe some of both.
    Any thought on the rims? I have seen this before but forgot what it is.

    I don't know what to make of the circular depression that runs from under the date, up and below the "&." We might need to see if there are other examples of this piece that have that.

    Retired dealer and avid collector of U.S. type coins, 19th century presidential campaign medalets and selected medals. In recent years I have been working on a set of British coins - at least one coin from each king or queen who issued pieces that are collectible. I am also collecting at least one coin for each Roman emperor from Julius Caesar to ... ?
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    Incomplete elliptical clip?

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    CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 31,564 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Testoon2 said:
    Incomplete elliptical clip?

    On both sides, so I think you've got it!

    Numismatist. 50 year member ANA. Winner of four ANA Heath Literary Awards; three Wayte and Olga Raymond Literary Awards; Numismatist of the Year Award 2009, and Lifetime Achievement Award 2020. Winner numerous NLG Literary Awards.
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    spacehaydukespacehayduke Posts: 5,476 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @ldhair said:
    I found this one about 25 years ago. It must have had help to have these colors.

    Here is mine, nowhere near as colorful as yours, but some dappled green-blue within the fields.

    Best, SH


    Successful transactions with-Boosibri,lkeigwin,TomB,Broadstruck,coinsarefun,Type2,jom,ProfLiz, UltraHighRelief,Barndog,EXOJUNKIE,ldhair,fivecents,paesan,Crusty...
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    sellitstoresellitstore Posts: 2,497 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Copper oxidizes to a blue-green color so it may be what's not in this "pure copper" rather than what else is in it that is causing the colorful patina.

    Collector and dealer in obsolete currency. Always buying all obsolete bank notes and scrip.
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    CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 31,564 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Metals get re-used over and over, so trace elements are to be expected even in so-called "pure copper."

    Numismatist. 50 year member ANA. Winner of four ANA Heath Literary Awards; three Wayte and Olga Raymond Literary Awards; Numismatist of the Year Award 2009, and Lifetime Achievement Award 2020. Winner numerous NLG Literary Awards.

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