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The True Hard Times Tokens

SKU: 14409
Author / Editor: Robert A. Schuman, M.D

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Lyman H. Low, in his magnum opus, HARD TIMES TOKENS, 1900, describes five categories of tokens, which represented his criteria for inclusion into the series. They were:
  • Those having reference to the controversy about the United States Bank.
  • Those bearing popular satirical and political maxims of the period./li>
  • Those with devices and inscriptions imitating more or less closely the legal coinage./li>
  • Shop cards, dated, of the period./li>
  • Mulings with either the obverses or reverses of any of the foregoing./li>
The first three categories are generally referred to as the political series, although many collectors of the Lyman Low era, and even later proponents of the series such as Wayte Raymond and John J. Ford, Jr. considered these to be the so-called true “Hard Times” Tokens. Wayte Raymond, in his STANDARD CATALOGUES of 1940-1942, called the political series - “HARD TIMES TOKENS” and devoted ten pages to them with photographs, prices, and a brief essay by Alfred Z. Reed. The remaining pieces he called EARLY MERCHANT TOKENS 1789-1850 – depicted by photographs and line drawings over 36 additional pages.

These so-called “Hard Times” tokens are distinct from the merchant tokens (store cards) issued during the Hard Times era, which have no direct political reference or neutral specie (see Neutral Specie Substitutes discussed later) motif. The store cards need and will receive a serious and studied treatment in separate subsequent works. Those merchant tokens that are directly muled with or mated with actual dies that are a part of the political series (Low’s category number 5) will also be included here because of their direct connection to the political pieces and to allow for total inclusion of all political die usage.

The purpose of this monograph is to photographically illustrate the tokens described above, and to establish current factual information on rarity, prices realized (both public and private), condition census data where relevant, and die states. Each piece will be described using the original Low numbering system. Anecdotal points of interest will be noted where appropriate, and an effort will be made to correct prior errors or misconceptions if necessary.
Binding: Harcover
Edition: 1st
Publication Date: 2011
Size: 8.5x11
Pages: 142



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