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  • North American Tokens

    The North American Token (ca. 1820): Introduction

    Like Wood's 1723 Hibernia coppers this token portrays the seated Hibernia with her harp behind her; the accompanying legend is "NORTH AMERICAN TOKEN" with a date of 1781. The reverse displays a ship on water and the legend "COMMERCE." Since this piece carried the legend "NORTH AMERICAN TOKEN" with the date 1781, it had been considered part of the American colonial series. However, in 1978 David Winter published an article showing this coin shared letter punches with two tokens by the Dublin engraver William Mossop, Jr. (1788-1827), namely the backdated 1804 Pawnbrokers Office halfpenny and the 1813 Neville & Co. halfpenny. Based on this evidence and similarities with other copper tokens from Canada, Winter dated the token to sometime between 1817 and 1819. Rulau states the tokens are thought to have been struck between 1810 and 1820 and circulated near the Canadian border. The third edition of the Charlton catalogue of Colonial Canadian Tokens states the coin was produced in Dublin around 1825 and backdated to evade Canadian importation laws. It was struck without a collar so it would look like older tokens. We now realize this token is not from America nor is it from the colonial period, however it is included here as it is still collected as part of the colonial series.


    See: Douglas Winter, "The North American Token," The Numismatist  91 (1978) 490-495; The Charlton Standard Catalogue of Canadian Colonial Tokens,  third edition, W.K. Cross, publisher, Toronto: Charlton press, 1995, p.197; Russell Rulau, Standard Catalog of United States Tokens 1700-1900  second edition, Iola,WI: Krause, 1997, p. 59.

    latest corrections March 1, 2004. Thanks to Gar Travis for proofreading this section.

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    Section Contents North American Tokens

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