Token OR Medalet?


It is probably impossible to distinguish precisely between what was a circulating money-substitute, and what was a medalet (small sized medal). There seems to be a continuum of examples from one extreme to the other.

Factors favoring being a medalet:

  1.   Not cent sized – the larger the token, the less likely it is that it would circulate as a cent. Similarly, tokens which are under 18mm in diameter may have been too small to be readily accepted as a cent.

  2.   frequently found holed for suspension;

  3.   promotes a political candidate, or is a die exclusively intermuled with political candidate medalet dies;

  4.   found in several different metals, with no apparent circulating metal (i.e. copper and/or brass specimens are as rare as off-metals and are predominantly found in uncirculated condition);

  5.    substantially thicker than the average CWT (which tend to be 1.0 – 1.5mm).

  6.   has a “medal-turn”; that is, if the token is turned on a vertical axis (12 to 6 o’clock), the obverse and reverse both appear upright.

Factors favoring being a token:

  1.   18.5 – 20.5mm in diameter, commonly found in copper or brass, unholed, and in circulated condition;

  2.   frequently married with storecard, commerce-related, cent likeness or denomination dies

  3.   has a “coin-turn”: that is, if the token is turned on a horizontal axis (9 to 3 o’clock) the obverse an reverse will both appear upright. For that matter, the relationship between the obverse and reverse is anything *but* medal turn, there was some degree of carelessness in token production as opposed to medalet production.

“A current need for a Civil War medal catalog is obvious: our CWTS could consider expanding its horizons to include medals. A committee could be appointed to develop a catalog of these commemorative war pieces. This approach would also provide us with an opportunity to purge our patriotic and store card catalogs of medals.”  Jack Detwiler  1977  [CWTSJ V11N2p35]