Before the Hawaiian Islands were settled by Europeans, there were many indigenous peoples there. While they didn’t have coinage, they did use Cowry shells, beads, feathers, sandalwood, and some exotic spices as mediums of exchange.
John Gregory Hancock’s designs for the Washington Large Eagle and Small Eagle Cents of 1791 were unwanted by the US Mint and President Washington. So the Small and Large Eagle versions were moved to other Condor Tokens (British Commercial Halfpennies).
After President George Washington’s public rejection of John Gregory Hancock’s Large and Small Eagle Washington Cents as being too “monarchial” – meaning, he did not want a coinage with his likeness upon it, Hancock’s disappointment grew to frustration.
Thomas Wyon designed a 1795 British copper Halfpenny token that utilized the bust of President Washington. It was designed for the London firm of Clark & Harris, who were exporters of and dealers in stoves and fireplace screens, also called Grates!
Towards the end of the 17th century, the French government, mired in a deep recession, turned to striking billon coinage. King Louis XIV created France’s billon coinage by virtue of an edict in October of 1692.
The Auctori Plebis Token is an enigmatic colonial token. No one knows who made it, where it was struck, or if an American Merchant ordered it from a British minter. What is certain is that it circulated throughout the American Colonies.
William Wood’s copper coins were heavier than those copper coins already in use, they were in demand and that would continue. In fact, had he produced all that he had permission to strike, he would have lost money over the period of time it would have taken him to fulfill that contract.
It was long believed that the same British minter, W. and Alexander Walker had also struck, in 1792, before the news of Washington’s disapproval, coins with the same Washington President obverse but these had a legend on the reverse instead of an eagle.
4,000 of these coins were sent to the United States and distributed to Washington, his cabinet members, Senators and Congressmen, and other important officials. Washington said an emphatic NO and these coins would not be ordered.