Hard Times token featuring anti-slavery message tops $70,000 in auction

Market Analysis: Breaking down Heritage Auctions' recent Tokens and Medals Signature Auction
By , Coin World
Published : 07/05/16
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Tokens and medals remain, especially when compared with U.S. coins, an area where discoveries can be made and even the rarest examples trade at a fraction of what comparably desirable regular issue U.S. coins would sell for.

Heritage’s June 10 and 12 Tokens and Medals Signature Auction was held in conjunction with the Long Beach Coin, Currency, Stamp and Sports Collectibles Expo. The $858,105 sale included many lots under $100, but there are three we're profiling in this week's Market Analysis that were a bit pricier and show distinct areas of the tokens and medals market. 

Here's a look at one:

The Lot

1838 ‘Am I Not a Man and a Brother’ Hard Times Token, EF-40, 

The Price


The Story

Hard Times Tokens refer to a broad group of pieces produced between 1832 and 1844, most notably including tokens after the nation suffered economic hardship starting in 1837. Among the most famous Hard Times tokens are the ones with designs addressing slavery, as these tokens directly relate to the era’s politics and have resonance to viewers today.

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Just four examples of this particular 1838 “Am I Not a Man and a Brother” Hard Times token are known, with Heritage reporting, “The other three specimens are the John J. Ford, Jr. example also in a major private collection, the Don Miller piece that is now in an advanced Long Island Collection, and the granular example that was recently discovered in Canada.”

This token was modeled after a late 18th century British merchant token and the rarity in the Heritage auction, graded Extremely Fine 40 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp., sold for $70,500.

Keep reading this Market Analysis:

What the finest known 'Union Forever' Civil War token sold for $8,812.50

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