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1838 Anti-Slavery Hard Times Token

By Elton Smith
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Hard Times tokens were minted in 1837 and 1838 when America was in a depression. People were hoarding coins and small change became hard to find. As a response, merchants began buying tokens from private mints at less than face value so they could make change in business transactions. In 1838 both the "Am I Not a Man & a Brother" and "Am I Not a Woman & a Sister" tokens were produced in response to the antislavery sentiments in the Northeast United States. The two coins are very similar. Of these two tokens, the "Am I Not a Woman & a Sister" token is by far the more common. The obverse design on these tokens was based on similar British tokens issued in the 1790's.

This example is almost uncirculated in grade. It's only detractions are a small mark on the obverse and a weak strike in the center of the reverse. The backward "N" in UNITED was a mistake made by the die cutter.


Comments  (Leave a comment)
Back in the late 60's I bought several interesting coins, including this one. It was in Pasadena Texas but that's all I remember. I enjoyed going to coin shows. I didn't pay much for this coin. Less than $40. I wasn't a very good book keeper, but I enjoyed coins.
Elton Smith
2021-07-31



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