NGC Registry Featured Set: Civil War Tokens

Posted on 1/10/2023

This month’s featured set belongs to Princeton Numismatics.

The NGC Registry is home to many impressive Custom sets of Civil War tokens, but Princeton Numismatics is the mightiest of them all with more than 700 pieces. He was a Best Tokens and Medals Set winner in 2020, and his set has been viewed more than 4,500 times.

Privately produced to make up for a war-time shortfall in official currency, Civil War tokens display patriotism, humor and much more in their myriad designs. After 20 years, Princeton Numismatics’ collection contains nearly all patriotic tokens up to R-6, many storecards and many pieces of which only a handful are known per the Fulds’ books on Civil War tokens.

Princeton Numismatics started out collecting large cents, then hard times tokens, but ultimately strategically chose Civil War tokens for a collecting vocation. Compared to US coins, Civil War tokens offered more rarity and variety at a fraction of the price. While US collectors must contend with the twin challenges of rarity and cost, Princeton Numismatics picked a series where he could control the cost and maximize the rarity and variety and thus enjoyment. Tokens fit the budget, Princeton Numismatics wrote, and he has happily been collecting for decades.

Focusing on one series and gaining knowledge also helped him maximize his collection:

“Specializing is important for collectors. It can give a collector the ability to know as much or more about the coins they are buying than the seller,” he wrote. “Civil War tokens are often unidentified and incorrectly identified. If lucky, it is not uncommon to find a better variety listed as something more common.”

The market for Civil War tokens has matured in recent years. Increased interest has brought more material to market, but also higher prices. Despite this, there is still plenty of opportunity:

“We all hear of the old days and people buying double row boxes full for a fraction of their value, and that will not happen again,” Princeton Numismatics wrote. “However, old-time collections are always going to be liquidated over time, and Civil War token collectors are a relatively small world for such a large series. Any time a large collection comes to market, opportunities for overlooked items arise.”

One of the collector’s favorite pieces is his 1863 “Dix token” featuring the famous slogan, “If anybody attempts to tear it down [the American flag], shoot him on the spot.” While many versions of these tokens exist, Princeton Numismatics’ sample is an R-9 reverse die (F-205/411 a), making his just one of four known. The die can be identified by the re-cut T-H of THE. Princeton Numismatics likes the piece so much, he owns two!

1863 "Dix Token" F-205/411a

Other notable collections of Civil War tokens on display in the NGC Registry include Redline68’s Civil War Tokens - Patriotic Dies and James D Cleaveland’s Cleaveland's Civil War Tokens.

Custom sets can be viewed and created on Collector's Society. Custom sets are eligible every year for major awards including Best Custom Set, Most Informative and Most Creative and prizes.

The NGC Registry is a free online platform where collectors register and display their certified coins and can compete against other collectors around the world for recognition and prizes. The NGC Registry continues to be the world’s most comprehensive online coin collecting platform thanks to you, our valued collectors. This popular resource now boasts nearly 30,000 users, 284,000+ registered sets and nearly 1.6 million registered coins. In January of 2023, we awarded more than $35,000 in prizes — the highest prize value awarded yet! To see the winners, click here.

Would you like your set to be featured in a future article? 100% completion in a set is not always feasible. Perhaps, we will choose someone whose set has a personal story behind it or some interesting historical facts. We are looking for those sets where someone has taken the time to make the set unique and a reflection of his/her personal collecting style. It may be your set! Stay tuned.

The NGC Registry team is here to help. Questions or comments? Go to the NGC Registry Chat Boards.

Stay Informed

Want news like this delivered to your inbox once a month? Subscribe to the free NGC eNewsletter today!


You've been subscribed to the NGC eNewsletter.

Unable to subscribe to our eNewsletter. Please try again later.

Articles List

Add Coin

Join NGC for free to add coins, track your collection and participate in the NGC Registry. Learn more >

Join NGC

Already a member? Sign In
Add to NGC Coin Registry Example
The NGC Registry is not endorsed by or associated with PCGS or CAC. PCGS is a registered trademark of Collectors Universe, Inc. CAC is a trademark of Certified Acceptance Corporation.