US Coins

Solving puzzle of Lincoln token Readers Ask

Readers Ask colum from Jan. 11, 2016, issue of Coin World:

I have a coin, dated 1864 and showing Abraham Lincoln; it is possibly a pattern coin. I believe it is made of silver or other gray metal. There is no denomination like the ones I’ve seen with 25 cents on reverse. My coin looks like the cataloged as NGC#2604027005. The reverse wording is FOREVER INSEPARABLE with the eagle. I have read the word “medalet” mentioned also. The above mentioned NGC number is the only exact match I have been able to come up with. Maybe this is an earlier example. The size is like a quarter, maybe just a tad bigger. The weight is a little heavier than a quarter. 

David M. Collins  /  Castalia, Ohio

The Numismatic Guaranty Corp. certified piece you believe your medal most closely resembles was once part of the John J. Ford Jr. Collection that was sold in the Ford XXIV Sept. 19 to 20, 2013, sale conducted by Stack’s Bowers Galleries.

The Ford sale offered six examples in different metals of the King 878 medal as cataloged in Robert P. King’s Lincoln in Numismatics.

The numeral 25 appears on the obverse, not reverse, below Lincoln’s portrait, with the eagle design on the reverse, on all the Ford pieces.

The auction lot text describes the pieces as post-1864 election products, with no explanation for the inclusion of 25, which is absent from your medal. Your medal appears to have been produced in white metal. I sent your images to numismatist and medal specialist David T. Alexander and two Lincoln collectors who are members of the American Political Items Collectors.

Alexander says the King 878 with “25” was sometimes touted as a pattern quarter dollar, but he has never seen an example of the “no 25” design. He believes your piece may be contemporary with the better known type. 

Neither APIC collector, Scott Dolson or Donald Ackerman, has seen an example of the medal without the 25. Dolson valued the piece at between $100 and $200; Ackerman at $150 to $250.

Paul A. Cunningham’s 2015 reference, Lincoln’s Metallic Imagery, also does not address a “no 25” design.

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