Civil War Token, 1863

Civil War Token, 1863

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In the beginning of 1862, citizens went on a hoarding frenzy as high inflation plagued the market after the outbreak of the Civil War. Their target: coins of gold, silver, and copper. The hoarding problem was so extreme that the government halted the minting of coined money and by the end of 1862 there were hardly any metallic coins in circulation. This was acutely felt by business men and customers alike since coinage in small denominations was most commonly tendered at that point in time. In order to alleviate the situation, merchants and tradesmen sought alternatives to government issued small change. Privately issued tokens, typically one cent and made of copper and similar in size to government issued coinage, were used instead and by late 1862 these Civil War Tokens were circulating in Cincinnati and New York. This particular token’s text, “FOR PUBLIC ACCOMODATION,” reflects the pecuniary problem that was happening at that time.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Physical Description
copper (overall material)
overall: 19.8 mm; 25/32 in; wt. 3.685 g
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
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Work and Industry: National Numismatic Collection
Civil War
Coins, Currency and Medals
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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