USA Civil War Knickerbocker token 1861-63


UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Civil War token, no date (1861-63), Obverse: KNICKERBOCKER CURRENCY, Reverse: I-O-U GOOD FOR 1 CENT, PURE COPPER, copper, 19mm, dies 255/1270, VF+

1 in stock

SKU: 3258091 Categories: ,


At the start of the American Civil War there was a coin shortage in the North. The copper-nickel Indian cents were hoarded. Merchants stepped into the gap with private tokens. They circulated widely until they were outlawed in 1864.

A token is used like a coin but is not a coin. Rather, it stands for a coin without the value of the coin. Maybe its copper, but says its value is the same as a silver coin. Usually tokens were made privately, but sometimes governments got involved.

The word “exonumia” is used to describe all kinds of things that are “like” coins but are not coins. I wrote a blog post on that subject. Basic categories: 1. used like a coin but not issued by a national government, 2. looks like a coin but not made for spending, 3. other things that we are interested in.