This famous unique Civil War merchant token as been in some of the world’s finest numismatic collections of Civil War tokens. It’s pedigree includes Steve Tanenbaum, Steve Hayden, Ed Rosen and George Fuld (who wrote the reference book used by PCGS & NGC for designations).
Civil War Tokens were privately issued emergency money produced in 1862-1863 during the Civil War to circulate in place of Federal coinage. Federal coinage was hoarded as quickly as it was struck and placed in circulation. During the early years of the Civil War, all Federal coinage was withdrawn from circulation by the public because of concerns about the war and as Federal money lost value compared to the value of coins.
Private die sinkers took advantage of this situation by striking copper Civil War tokens for merchants. Some tokens had advertisements on one or both sides and also patriotic symbols and designs of an Indian Cent or an eagle. These tokens looked similar to a U.S. copper cent and many people were confused and thought that these were government issued. In 1864, the U.S. Government banned the private minting of money. There were approximately 9,000 different designs that were found on the obverse of Civil War tokens. Civil War tokens flourished in the early 1860’s since the U.S. government had strict counterfeiting laws for gold and silver coinage but not for copper coinage.
Even during the Civil War there were coin collectors of Civil War tokens who wanted a unique token for their collection. Some die sinkers struck intentional mint errors which included off-metals, double strikes, overstrikes and a few mules. This mule was intentionally struck since it pairs two different unrelated merchants on the same token. It is a special Civil War token since it is unique, in gem mint state and was part of the collection of four famous numismatists.
The Fuld reference book lists this unique two-town mule as R-10. It pairs a die from a merchant from Cincinnati with a die from a merchant from New London. It is a fascinating numismatic artifact from the Civil War era due to it’s unique status and pedigree.
1861-1865 Civil War Merchant Token (Reverse)
Cincinnati & New London Mule
NGC MS 65 BN
R-10 UNIQUE (The Only Coin In Existence)
Mules are featured in chapter 17 of my NLG Award
winning book, World's Greatest Mint Errors.