In 1860 in Cincinnati, die sinker and token maker John Stanton tapped
the engraving talents of Benjamin True to create a series of
22-millimeter tokens. The first had the inscription WEALTH OF THE
SOUTH and RICE TOBACCO SUGAR COTTON on the obverse and on the reverse
NO SUBMISSION TO THE NORTH / 1860 with a palmetto tree and cannon.
Struck in brass and usually with a hole for suspension on a ribbon,
these were sold by agents in the South. Declaring what many
Southerners felt, the tokens were a great success. Later, as the
political division became worse, Stanton opened a Southern mail
address to receive orders in Covington, Ky.!
In the summer of 1860 the several political parties chose their
nominations for the November presidential election. Benjamin True
engraved dies for tokens portraying Abraham Lincoln (Republican
Party), John C. Breckinridge (Southern Democratic Party), John Bell
(Constitutional Union Party), and Stephen A. Douglas (Democratic
Party) in profile on the obverse, with a surrounding inscription
giving the name and state of each. At the top was a tiny circle,
indicating a spot to drill if the recipient wanted to make a hole to
accommodate a cord or ribbon. The reverse illustrated the White House,
called the PRESIDENTS HOUSE on the token. The official name for the
structure at the time was Executive Mansion.
These tokens were wholesaled at $5 per hundred to agents. Stanton
reported some buyers were selling them for 15 cents each at the rate
of 100 to 200 per day.
As might be expected, these were a hit with numismatists as well.
Stanton, with an eye on that market, could not resist making illogical
die combinations to sell to collectors, including an especially
whimsical one with Abraham Lincoln on the obverse and NO SUBMISSION
WITH THE NORTH on the reverse!
Fast forward to 2014. Numismatists still love them — that is, when
they can be found. More next week.