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Selected Favorite Coins from A.C. Dwyer's Type Collection

Find out where the phrase "Millions for defence, not one cent for tribute" originated.

About the Coin

Hard Times Tokens were a non-government issued piece that was used as a substitute for currency.

The tokens were a response to the hoarding of coins by the public during the Panic of 1837. They were issued until the panic ended around 1843.

They are normally grouped into political, satirical, and store card themes.

In 1899, Lyman Low cataloged different varieties of Hard Times Tokens numbered from 1 to 183. These are referred to as Low numbers when identifying a token. In the early 1960s, Russell Rulau added another 100 or so tokens which are known as the pseudo-Low numbers.

Around 1980, a reference book titled Hard Times Tokens was written by Russell Rulau. In order to add some logic into the numbering of Hard Times Tokens, Rulau created his own numbering system known as the HT numbers. This is the predominate numbering system used by collectors today.

This uncirculated example in The Arlington Collection is HT #293.

It features the Merchant's Exchange building on Wall Street in New York City on the obverse. The building burnt in the Great New York Fire of 1835. The fire destroyed close to 650 shops and is estimated to have caused over $18,000,000 in damage. This building is featured on at least four different varieties of Hard Times Tokens (HT 291-294).

The reverse features the saying "MILLIONS FOR DEFENCE, NOT ONE CENT FOR TRIBUTE." It resembles the reverse of the large cent in circulation at the time. The "NOT ONE CENT" is said to have been featured prominently in order to avoid charges of counterfeiting. This phrase is featured on the reverse of many different varieties of Hard Times Tokens with various obverse designs.

1837 1¢ Merchants Exchange

Hard Times Token (HT #293)

"Millions for Defence,
Not One Cent for Tribute

1837 1¢ Merchants Exchange Hard Times Token Obverse
1837 1¢ Merchants Exchange Hard Times Token Reverse

The Arlington Collection of U.S. Type Coins