New-York Historical is temporarily closed to help contain the spread of COVID-19. On August 14, we're opening Hope Wanted: New York City Under Quarantine, a free, outdoor exhibition in our rear courtyard. See more details on our Visit page.

Civil War token

Object Number: 
Overall: 3/4 in. ( 1.9 cm )
Copper token; depiction of a Union flag on obverse; obverse "THE FLAG OF OUR UNION / 1863" reverse "IF ANYBODY ATTEMPTS TO TEAR IT DOWN / SHOOT HIM / ON THE SPOT"
Gallery Label: 
During the Civil War, there were no metallic coins of any denomination in circulation. Tradesmen were thus forced to issue a medium that would save commerce. Many of these tokens depicted patriotic subjects. The irresponsible nature of these tokens forced Congress to pass an act in 1864, forbidding private individuals to issue any form of money.
Credit Line: 
Gift of Mrs. Gordon Whitman
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group