U.S. Civil War Store Cards 1861-1865

by the Civil War Token Society

© 2014 Civil War Token Society
664 pages

ISBN 978-0-578-15287-5 (hardcover)



About the book --

The present book is the long awaited 3rd edition of U.S. Civil War Store Cards, updating the excellent work of George and Melvin Fuld last published in 1975. The Fulds’ work was the most complete up to that time, updating the 1st edition which in turn had been built on the foundation of the 1924 work by George Hetrich and Henry Guttag. This 3rd edition honors the extraordinary work of the Fulds and others while incorporating the information that has been acquired by numismatic researchers in the decades since 1975. In addition to updates based on new information, it is hoped the reader will benefit from other improvements in this edition, such as color photographs, new obverse die numbering, listings of full names and occupations of merchants where known, corrections of certain earlier listings out of alphabetical sequence, and additional sections for possible Civil War tokens and Renner’s list of stock or reverse die usage. The definition of a United States Civil War store card has changed and evolved over the years. Opinions vary, and no statement will please everyone.

Definition of a Civil War Store Card
In 1924 Dr. George Hetrich, of Birdsboro, Pennsylvania, formed an arrangement with well-to-do New York City dealer Julius Guttag to publish his manuscript, Civil War Tokens and Tradesmen’s Cards. Described were 1,194 patriotic tokens and 7,241 store cards for a total of 8,345. The store cards were issued from 296 cities and towns in 23 states. Patriotic dies were illustrated as were stock dies used for store card reverses. The obverses of the store cards were not shown, probably as the authors felt that the written descriptions would suffice. However, for reverse dies having portraits, flags, shields, wreaths, eagles, and the like, a picture was indeed worth many words, thus the stock die pictures. The authors included this comment:

Early in 1862 all metallic currency was gradually withdrawn from circulation. Citizens, anticipating the possible increase in value of all metals, commenced hoarding gold, silver, and even copper to such an extent that within a short time there were no metallic coins of any denomination in general commerce. Tradesmen were thus forced to issue a medium that would supply the place of small coins. These little coins filled the wants of the trades-people and were accepted as a means of exchange for the value, which usually was one cent. In 1962 A Guide to Civil War Store Card Tokens, by George and Melvin Fuld, was released and formed a new foundation for enthusiasts who sought to organize their collections. The Fulds had studied these and other tokens ever since their interest began in the 1940s and were recognized as experts in the field. By that time the Hetrich-Guttag book was long out of print, and there was a brisk call for used copies when they could be found. Unlike the Hetrich-Guttag text, the new work did not specify that to qualify as a Civil War store card it had to have been issued as a monetary substitute. The 2nd edition of the Fuld work in 1975 included no such requirement either. The result was that the listings expanded to well over 10,000 entries, including many “numismatic strikes” made for collectors and many large store cards that certainly were never used nor intended as monetary substitutes.



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