From the outset of the Civil War there was a shortage of government issue cents. Because the cents were hoarded and the public had no great love for the fractional currency of the day, copper coins were issued by many individuals.
Civil War Tokens are generally divided into two categories: merchant issues and those with patriotic themes. The merchant tokens were issued to provide change and to advertise the dealer's wares. The patriotic types were simply used as a substitute for government coins and were produced at a profit by private manufacturers and put into circulation through various agencies.
These tokens vary greatly in both composition and design, in fact some 10,000 different varieties are known. On June 8th 1864 a law was passed which outlawed private coinage of every type.
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