LIBERIA, July 2019
Following the robust abolition movement in Great Britain this social justice movement quickly progressed in the United States. Many prominent individuals, including US President James Monroe, were involved in the establishment and management of the American Colonization Society. The society’s mission was to raise money for the voluntary transport of freedmen to the newly established colony of Liberia on the west coast of Africa, just south of Sierra Leone, a similar colony of Great Britain. This token was sold to the US public to raise funds for this effort. While this token one cent has traditionally been associated with Liberia or American “Hard Times” tokens (began 1837), it is best fully associated with the US Mint. More than one researcher has declared this the first “foreign” coin minted by the US Mint, but official mint records do not mention it. The size and weight of these tokens exactly match the Large Cent issues of the USA. Personally, I believe these were struck at the mint in Philadelphia with dies engraved by non-mint workers. Two men named Colver and Harley studied a cache of 250 of these token cents and established five varieties within two major types (CH 1-5) as seen in the SCWC – Liberia Token Coinage. However, the example shown here was not observed by Colver and Harley, none of the other five has the sun outlined on the obverse as this one does, in fact after years of study I only know of 3 other examples, one of those is in the archives of the American Numismatic Society in New York City. Die studies have proven that this very rare type was the first one struck and minted in such small quantities that it probably a trial strike or presentation piece. You can see the seven known varieties and obtain scarce documentation at this site for LIBERIA.