Civil War tokens (2)
Tokens; metal; (a) depiction of company shield with a crown on top, a bald eagle in the center, and crossed flags behind on the obverse; obverse "S. STEINFELD / SOLE AGENT FOR THE U.S." reverse "PRINCIPAL DEPOT / 1863 / OF THE / FRENCH / COGNAC / BITTERS / 70 / NASSAU ST N.Y."; (b) depiction of a shield with a five-point star behind it on obverse, and a ring of garland on reverse; obverse "PRO BONO PUBLICO / 1863." reverse "NEW / YORK"
During the early years of the Civil War concern for possible increases in the value of metals in relationship to paper money caused the general population to hoard first gold and silver coinage and then copper coins as well. By 1862 there were practically no government issued coins in circulation; this made conducting business difficult. In a creative effort to ease commerce, many businesses, primarily in the northern and western states produced privately minted coinage, or tokens. These are generally of two types: ‘store cards’ those advertizing a certain business, redeemable for goods at that purveyor; and ‘patriotics’ made by private die strikers or mints with patriotic motifs. The Coinage Act of 1864 banned private individuals from issuing any form of money, reinforced by severe penalties and a new issue of government minted one and two cent coins.