Reeded edge on WI 510L-1a1 by Marr

Plain border on 1150 OH 5A-4b

Collar – the third die, used to strike the edge of the token.  Typically the collar is fitted around the stationary die and the blank token planchet placed into the well formed by the collar and stationary die prior to striking by the movable hammer die. Some CWT were struck without a collar.

Collector strike CWT – A token struck for sale to contemporary collectors of civil war tokens.  Although this is hard to know with certainty, the following categories (in increasing level of uncertainty) are likely collector strikes:  a) CWT struck over US and foreign coins, b) CWT struck in off-metals which are typically found only in uncirculated condition, c)  unusual and rare die mulings found only in uncirculated condition.

Copper - Metal designator (a). The most common CWT planchet material, similar in appearance and toning to the modern US cent. I am not aware of any published results of X-ray spectroscopy on copper planchet tokens. The planchets may be pure copper, or may be bronze depending upon the diesinker’s supply. The composition of US Indian cents was changed to bronze (.950 copper .050 tin and zinc) in 1864 in apparent reaction to the wide-spread acceptance of CWT.

CWT – Civil War Token

CWTS – Civil War Token Society.  A non-profit organization for Civil War Token collectors.  The CWTS is the publisher of PatV5, SC75 and is producing the next revision of the storecard catalog which should become available in 2013, completely revised with color photographs. The CWTS has published a quarterly journal since 1967 and has many back issues still available. See their website at for more information.

CWTSJ - Civil War Token Society Journal. A black and white, octavo-sized quarterly journal containing feature articles about Civil War and Sutler tokens written by the membership as well as society business and a quarterly auction.

Device - An element of the token design which is cut into the die.

Die - A cylinder of hardened steel with an incuse design on one end. (See photograph at right of die 1084, courtesy of Stacks). Two dies, one for the obverse and one for the reverse, are mounted in a coining press to strike tokens. As used on this web site, Die can also refer to one side of a token bearing the impression of a die of interest.

Die Bulge - A type of die failure in which a portion of the die surface recedes, creating a raised bulge on struck tokens.

Die Hub or Hub - A a hardened steel die used to impress a design into a larger steel die before it is hardened. The design in the hub is in relief, so that its image in the die will be incuse. A classic example die hub use is S.D. Child’s portrait of Liberty wearing a coronet or tiara LCT 1. There is a die break across Ms Liberty’s neck which appears in all of the dies (1094 - 1120) used to produce tokens with this design.

Die Marriage - the “normal” use of two dies together. Often the dies were created for one another as in 97/389 where an expression begun on the obverse is continued on the reverse or 132/149 featuring Lincoln and his presidential running mate Johnson. Whether it is a die marriage or a die muling in many cases is open to interpretation.

Die Muling - a use of two dies together which in some sense don’t go together. For instance 132/150 featuring Lincoln and Pendleton, who was not Lincoln’s but his opponent McClellan’s running mate. It appears that various “unnatural” die combinations were purposefully produced as rarities for contemporary collectors.

Die Orientation – The physical, rotational alignment of the obverse and reverse dies. If the die designs are both right side up when the token is rotated on the 12 to 6 o’clock axis, the token is said to have “medallic orientation” or a “medal turn”.  If the die designs are both right side up when the token is rotated on the 9 to 3 o’clock axis, the token is said to have “coin orientation” or a “coin turn.”

Die Punch - a hardened steel tool with a relief design on the end which is used to create an incuse impression in the steel die prior to hardening. Many decorative punches are distinctive to the engraver who created and used them. The photograph at right shows the leaves, Maltese crosses, trumpets and horseshoes that were used by H.D. Higgins, the maker of “Indiana Primitives.” Letter punches were used to hand letter dies and can sometimes be used to identify the engraver of a die. Note the distinctive “T” letter punch at right.

Die Sinker - A company which, or individual who, created and/or used dies to strike tokens. A Die Sinking company may have employed artists and/or engravers to create designs and/or dies. Some engravers signed their work (e.g. Lutz who worked for the Lanphear die sinking establishment) while most were anonymous. It also was not unusual for a die sinker to use dies created by another firm.

Edge - the third side of the token, the part of the token struck by neither the obverse nor the reverse die but which was pressed up against the collar. The majority of CWT have a plain edge, similar to the current Lincoln cent, having no design, letters or reeding. A Reeded edge token has bars perpendicular to the token’s faces pressed into the edge by the collar when the token is struck. Stanton produced many varieties of Indian Head storecards with reeded edges. In a few cases the reeding may be diagonal, as on NY 105E-1a1 or engrailed as on CT 600B-1b (which might more properly be called knurled).


Denticled border on die 237

Dancet border on die 138

Dancet border on die 256

Rope border on die 129

Denticled border on die 168

Plain border on 191

Plain border on 197

Beaded border on die 230

Blank reverse - A token side with no central design. There may be a struck edge design such as patriotic die 519, or a rim upset by being struck within a collar such as patriotic die 519B, or the token side may be completely flat and lack any rim whatsoever as in patriotic die 0. A blank side is always considered the reverse (e.g. 95/0a). For more details see PatV5 pgs 198-200.

Border - the design on either the obverse or reverse immediately adjacent to the token’s edge. Typical borders are beaded, denticled, dancetted or plain.

Brass - Metal designator (b). An alloy of copper and zinc often used for both circulating and collector strike tokens. Brass tokens are either yellow in color, similar to a tarnished doorknob, or have a yellowish tint or cast. The degree to which the cast is yellowish or reddish depends upon the quantity of zinc in the alloy and the conditions under which the token toned. Per PatV5 pg 26, brass CWT have between 15% to 39% zinc content with the remainder copper. Those CWT with lesser amounts of zinc have a more reddish hue. A 117/420b analyzed with x-ray spectroscopy was found to be 75.3% copper and 24.6% zinc, while a 54/342b was found to be 70.7% copper, 26.7% zinc and 2.6% silver, a 5/288b was 86% copper and 14% zinc (JCWTS V23#3pgs 6-9).

Bronze - is an alloy of copper with a primary additive of tin, but may include other additive metals as well. In the 1960 and 1965 Patriotic black book references, a number of tokens were listed as being of bronze composition. However, in later editions this metal was dropped, as discerning between brass, bronze and copper was too difficult. (JCWTS ref)

Broad-struck Token - a token struck without a collar. As a result the token is somewhat larger in diameter than the equivalent struck in collar. The token diameter may also vary.

Brockage - A token having a regular image on one side and the same image incused on the other side. This is a type of striking error (see the Photographic Glossary - Striking Issues page for pictures) although some brockages may have been purposefully produced for contemporary collectors.

Business strike - a token struck for use by a business as a storecard and/or as emergency money. A CWT is referred to as a business strike if it is usually found in worn condition in a common circulating metal such as copper or brass.

Central Design - is that part of the token which commands the viewer’s first attention. Typically this is what is the largest and appears in the center of the token, usually a sizable engraving of an object or motif (e.g. an Indian head, a shield, a liberty head, etc.). Other times it is text (e.g. Army and Navy, Not One Cent, etc.). Sometimes the entire die is used for the Central Design (e.g. “The Federal Union It Must and Shall Be Preserved”).

Cast Copy - A token that is cast from molds made from an original token. Typically the token will be cast in pot metal or aluminum and will be distinguished by a matte or sandblast surfaces with no trace of mint luster or bloom, as the token was not struck between dies. There may be microscopic pitting in the surfaces and usually the token’s edge shows signs of a seam, or the removal of a seam. Sometimes the token may be subsequently plated. Generally these tokens are interesting, but have no numismatic value. They are not white metal (e) or lead (g) examples of authentic CWT. See the pictures below of a 12/297 cast copy.

Engrailed edge on CT 600B-1b