Whitman Publishing is releasing an expanded, updated second edition
of the award-winning Guide Book of Civil War Tokens, by Q.
David Bowers. The 512-page book will debut in December 2014.
Civil War tokens were issued during the American conflict by
merchants and others as a substitute for small change, which had
become scarce. They became vessels of advertising and vehicles of patriotism.
The first edition of the Guide Book of Civil War Tokens
debuted in August 2013 at the American Numismatic Association World’s
Fair of Money, and it sold out before the end of 2013. In 2014 the
book won the Token and Medal Society’s Mishler Exonumia Cataloguing Award.
The second edition updates and expands the first edition, with 64
more pages. It features a completely new 50-page illustrated appendix
on sutler tokens (private issues of government-licensed contractors
who typically operated camp stores in connection with traveling
military regiments); hundreds of individually updated values based on
the current market; new (and more) images; the latest research in this
active field; and a bibliography of related books, journals, and websites.
Civil War tokens are small-cent-sized tokens, mostly of copper or
brass, that were issued by private firms to serve as emergency “money”
during the small-change shortage of 1862 to 1865. As the military
conflict dragged on, Americans hoarded any gold, silver, and
eventually even copper U.S. coins they received in change, holding the
metal as a hedge against wartime economic uncertainty.
Civil War tokens, privately issued by hundreds of merchants and
organizations and minted in the millions, were used as substitutes for
hoarded “pennies” to make change for small purchases. Today these
tokens are highly collectible, with values generally ranging from $15
for common, circulated pieces to more than $15,000 for rarities
including unique tokens.
Bowers wrote the Guide Book of Civil War Tokens with the
cooperation of the Civil War Token Society, the American
Numismatic Society, the Token and Medal Society, the ANA, and other
organizations, museums, libraries, collectors, dealers, and researchers.
The book includes more than 2,000 full-color images, plus values in
multiple grades, rarity ratings, detailed historical background, a
study of how Civil War tokens were manufactured, ways to collect them,
identification of unusual varieties, and information on the potential
for valuable new discoveries. It covers both patriotic tokens and
“store cards” (merchant advertising tokens), as well as sutler tokens
(some of which used Civil War token dies) and encased postage stamps
of the era. Nearly every known Civil War token die is described in
both pictures and text.
The Bowers guidebook is the only full-color illustrated price guide
to these collectible pieces of Americana, said Whitman publisher
The cover price of $39.95 is about the price of a common copper
token in Extremely Fine condition.
The book will be available online (including from Whitman
Publishing) and from bookstores and hobby shops nationwide.
Members of the ANA may borrow the book from the ANA Library
for the cost of postage.