Wednesday, June 8, 2011

No More Tokens

The United States Coinage Act of June 8th 1864 made Civil War tokens illegal.

Civil War tokens were coins that were minted privately. Mostly minted in the Northeast and Midwest, the tokens were caused by the shortage of government issued coins during the Civil War. Tokens fell into three categories, store cards, sutler tokens and patriotic tokens. The first privately minted token was that of H A Ratterman of Cincinnati, Ohio in 1862. The United State Congress passed a law prohibiting the issuing of tokens or other devices for the use of coinage on April 22nd 1864. Then Congress passed a final law making private coinage illegal June 8th 1864. The new law made the minting and usage of Civil War tokens punishable by five years in prison and or $2,000 in fines. It is estimated that by the time the law passed there twenty-five million Civil War tokens in circulation.

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