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United States (New York): 1837 nickel silver private pattern cent, Feuchtwanger's Composition


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United States (New York): 1837 nickel silver private pattern cent, Feuchtwanger's Composition


Obverse: Eagle right, wings spread, seizing a serpent in its talons.
Reverse: * FEUCHTWANGER'S * COMPOSITION surrounding wreath, denomination within.
Issuer: Dr. Lewis Feuchtwanger, New York City, USA.
Specifications: Nickel-silver, 18.5 mm.
Grade: PCGS MS64; cert. #90027484.
Reference: PCGS-20001Numista-40701, HT-268.
Provenance: ex-Northeast Numismatics, USA, 18 February, 2022.
Notes: Dr. Feuchtwanger was a German immigrant physician, metallurgist, and chemist who ran a pharmacy in New York City. These tokens were produced as a private pattern proposal to replace the large cents of the time. His proposal was denied by the Mint, but his tokens ended up being widely circulated in the wake of the Panic of 1837, which had caused a severe shortage of small change. They proved practical to the needs of commerce and were less cumbersome than the government-issued large cents. Feuchtwanger cents are catalogued with the Hard Times Tokens, and many varieties of them exist. He also produced 3-cent tokens with two different designs in 1837 and 1864, all of which are rare today.
Comments: Feuchtwanger was 20 years ahead of the government in producing a small cent. His "German silver" alloy (which contained no actual silver) stood the test of time well, too. Most pieces retain a pleasingly mellowed silver color today, some 180 years after they were produced.








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4 hours ago, ChrisB said:

One of my favorite US pieces. I have a few of them but this is the only one currently with an image. 




Nice.  Before upgrading to the MS64 above, my other example was an AU53 like yours.  I find they tend to look good in almost any grade.


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I have 3. None in pics. Some of my favorite coins.

same with my Confederate Cent Restrikes.

and of course my Civil War token collection. Sold most of them 35 years ago… but a fun collection!

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Many of these are found in a well circulated state. Given that they were introduced into circulation in 1837, the year that the bottom dropped out of the markets, paper currency and produced a first class panic, they served well a public looking for anything in coinage. They saw service into the US Civil War when even the bronze cents started to be hoarded. With that fearsome eagle trampling the serpent I wonder if they circulated in Mexico as well?

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