US Coins

1694 Elephant token promoting Carolina Plantation sells for $47K

Carolina Elephant tokens are often found well-worn, making this Extremely Fine 45 example a rare find. It sold for $47,000 at Heritage’s May 16 Newman auction.

Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions

The following post is pulled from Coin World editor Steve Roach’s Market Analysis column in the June 16 issue.

Heritage Auction’s fourth sale of the varied numismatic collections of St. Louis numismatist Eric P. Newman took place in New York City on May 16 and May 17. In total, the two days of auctions realized more than $11 million.

The Market Analysis column in the June 9 issue looked at three pieces at the $100, $500 and $1,000 levels. 

This coin is among three fascinating pieces from Newman IV that each sold around the $50,000 level.

The coin: 1694 Carolina Elephant token, Extremely Fine 45, $47,000

The story: Collectors really enjoy 17th century Elephant tokens. 
London Elephant tokens were struck around 1672 to 1694, probably weren’t intended to circulate in the colonies, and are available in well-worn Very Good condition for around $300. 

Similar tokens dated 1694 with a reverse reading GOD PRESERVE CAROLINA AND THE LORDS PROPRIETORS were likely struck in England and were possibly intended to heighten interest in the Carolina Plantation in the American colonies. 

A third variant (the rarest) states GOD PRESERVE NEW ENGLAND on the reverse; it is also dated 1694. 

The Carolina Elephant token has two distinct reverse types, one with the correct spelling of proprietors and another with the misspelling PROPRIETERS. Heritage adds, “Although described in most references as different dies, the placement and shape of all lettering is nearly identical, suggesting that a single reverse die was corrected after a small production of the misspelled pieces.”

The majority of the known Carolina Elephant tokens are well-worn, grading Very Good to Very Fine. Extremely Fine and finer examples are rare. This EF-45 piece sold for $47,000. 

Read the rest of Roach's Market Analysis column:

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