I found this token. I checked the Fuld and Hard Times Tokens books
for “War Between the States” tokens, but no luck.
The horseman on the obverse looks to me more like Spanish-American
War vintage. The reverse has an eagle with “U.S.” above. It is brass,
measures 18.8 millimeters in diameter and weighs 3.60 grams.
I’ve posted this on Coin Community (coincommunity.com) but no
identification yet. One Canadian fellow suggested that I Google “In
Pursuit of Pancho Villa 1916-1917,” but nothing came up. Hope you or
one of the readers can identify it.
Mr. Finkle’s mystery piece won’t be found in U.S. Civil War
Store Cards by George and Melvin Fuld, So-Called
Dollars by Harold E. Hibler Charles V. Kappen or The Standard
Catalog of Hard Times Tokens 1832-1844, by Russell Rulau.
However, there may be a partial clue to its identity in another
book — Military Tokens of the United States, 1866-1969 by the
late James J. Curto.
While Military Tokens of the United States does not
contain an exact listing for Finkle’s token, the reverse of his piece
has an intriguing similarity to one that is listed, and would fall
into a time frame close to the Pancho Villa era.
In a chapter on Naval tokens, Curto lists a piece he classifies as
N35, or Naval 35, which features on its obverse the USS Virginia, a
United States battleship in service from 1906 to 1920.
On the reverse of that token is a heraldic eagle similar to that
seen on the obverse of the United States seal: wings outspread, a
shield covering its breast, an olive branch in its right talon, arrows
in its left, and a banner held in its beak with the legend E PLURIBUS
UNUM. Like Mr. Finkle’s token, the Virginia token’s reverse has “U.S.”
above the eagle.
Too, the composition and size of the Virginia token are almost
identical to the piece in question, with Curto listing it as brass
with a diameter of 19 millimeters.
Curto catalogs a second, identical token, listed as N36, but
composed of copper instead of brass.
Based on the close similarities, it is possible that the
manufacturer of the Virginia token, albeit unknown, was also the
minter of Finkle’s horseman piece.
An example of the Virginia token sold in a March 11, 2011,
Holabird-Kagin Americana auction for $140 plus a 15 percent buyer’s fee.
Anyone who can provide additional information on Finkle’s mystery
piece is welcome to contact “Readers Ask.”
Coin World’s Readers Ask department does not accept coins
or other items for examination without prior permission from staff
member Erik Martin. Readers Ask also does not examine error or variety
coins. Materials sent to Readers Ask without prior permission will be
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