What The Experts Say...
HT 38, Low 24.
Obverse with E.PLURIBUS UNUM and a circle of 13 stars (7 to the left, 6 to the right) above a female head left. Below the bust is the date, 1837 (The smallest date in the series.) The reverse is similar to Low 21 and bears the legend: MILLIONS FOR DEFENCE enclosing a wreath with six berries outside and six inside. At center, NOT/ONF (sic)/CENT/FOR TRIBUTE. There is no dash below CENT.
The conventional wisdom enunciated by Lyman Low is that this token ( as well as others) were struck to the order of the famed numismatist, Charles I. Bushnell, about 1857. Q. David Bowers, however, thinks that Bushnell may not have been responsible for these pieces. In a footnote on page 112 of his “American Numismatics Before the Civil War 1760-1860,” he states, “Henry Davenport, who was a numismatist as early as the 1830s and in 1860 was a founder of the Boston Numismatic Society, had various restrikes and mulings made to his order. In his 1899 work, Hard Times Tokens, Lyman H. Low ascribes several restrikes and off-metal pieces to Charles I. Bushnell, together with unfavorable commentary about Bushnell. However, the record seems to suggest that Levick and Davenport commissioned the making of such pieces. Apparently Low was unaware of the activities of these two men.”
The consensus is that a maximum of 10 pieces were struck with only 4 or 5 actually collectible. We have located only 10 auction appearances in the last century. No doubt, a few of these citations are for the same token.
1. PCAC Hard Times Sale (1999) #20 Fine.
2. Zeddies/Brand... Sold by B&M in 1990, #302 MS-60
3. Steinberg… Sold by Stacks in 1989. #241. Unc.
4. Garrett. Sold by B&R in 1980. #1113, XF
5. PCAC, Sale #14, 1973. #4. AU
6. New Netherlands Sale #43. 1954, #966
7. Dunham Sale, 1941. #2599. Semi-proof, Full Mint Red.
8. Elder’s Henry Miller Sale, 1916, #24. Sharp Unc.
9. Dr. French Sale, 1915. #251. Unc.
10. J.N.T. Levick sale by elder, 1907. #1050. Red Proof.
In commenting on the Zeddies/Brand specimen, Q. David Bowers stated, “Apparently an effort was made to “age” the examples, possibly by burying them into the ground or by subjecting them to some type of chemical treatment, for all specimens seen by the write (refer, for example, to Garrett 1113) have oxidized surfaces. However, as we can see from the detail above, not all of these tokens were so treated as both the Dunham and the Levick tokens were Red proof or semi proof.
(H. Joseph Levine, PCAC, The Charles Litman Collection, December 6, 2003)
The tokens Low 24-27, L.41-43 and Low 70-1 were long believed to have been struck to the order of famed numismatist Charles I. Bushnell about 1857. In his 1899 work, Lyman Low ascribes several restrikes and off-metal pieces to Charles I. Bushnell, together with unfavorable commentary about Bushnell.
Dave Bowers, however, thinks that Bushnell may not have been responsible for these pieces. In a footnote on p.112 of his American Numismatics Before the Civil War; 1760-1860, Bowers states that Henry Davenport, who was a numismatist as early as the 1830’s and in 1860 was a founder of the Boston Numismatic Society, had various restrikes and mulings made to his order. The record seems to suggest that J.N.T Levick and Henry Davenport commissioned the making of such pieces. Apparently Low was unaware of the activities of these two men.
The modern consensus is that a maximum of 10 pieces of each of these tokens was struck, with only four or five pieces of each being collectible. Joe Levine located only seven examples of Low 24 sold in the past 50 years, with some re-offers. Many of the so-called Bushnell tokens have an oxidized surface, but no apparent wear. This was probably done to make them appear to have an aged appearance.
(Stacks, the John J. Ford Collection, Part IV, June 23rd, 2004)