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1837 1¢ Merchants Exchange Hard Times Token (HT #293)

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US Coins950 of 981What coin is this? 1956-D Error Cent or Not, That is the Question?
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Posted 8 years ago

(13 items)

I love Hard Times tokens because of the history involved with each one. It's another one of the numismatic topics that does not have its own area on Collector's Weekly, but it should.

Hard Times Tokens were non-government issued tokens that were used as a substitute for currency. They were a response to the hoarding of coins by the public during the Panic of 1837 and were issued by many private companies until the panic ended around 1843.

The obverse on this token features the Merchant's Exchange building on Wall Street in New York City. The building was destroyed in the Great New York Fire of 1835.

The reverse features a popular 18th and 19th century slogan "Millions for Defense, Not One Cent for Tribute." The slogan originated shortly after John Adams took over the Presidency from George Washington and was in response to the French trying to blackmail us.

You can read more about the history of this slogan and how historians frequently get its origins wrong at:

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