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Auctori Plebis Tokens – 1787

The Mystery of 1787 Auctori Plebis Tokens

The Auctori Plebis Token is another colonial token that is of mysterious origin. No one is certain who made it, exactly where it was struck, or if an American merchant had ordered it from a British minter. But we are absolutely certain that it circulated in the American Colonies. The obverse is very similar to a Connecticut Copper with the Bust facing left and it is sometimes found in collections of Connecticut copper coins.  

The design of the coin is similar to Connecticut and also to the Vermont copper coinage. The obverse has a bust facing the left with the Latin phrase “AUCTORI PLEBIS” (By the authority of the people) around the upper periphery. The reverse has a seated figure of Liberty (similar to Britannia) facing left, with a crowned lion (representing Great Britain) resting at her feet, with the Latin phrase “INDE ET LIBER” (Independence and Liberty) around the reverse periphery. These tokens were obviously struck for American usage as the legends are anti-monarchy and celebrate the six-year war just won over Great Britain.

(1787 Auctori Plebis Token, Obverse [left], Reverse [right].)

It is likely to have been struck in Birmingham, England where numerous other coins and tokens were struck for use in the American colonies.  Specialists have studied these tokens trying to find a letter punch that matches the various British Halfpenny tokens and this Auctori Plebis, and there are no exact matches, which seems to indicate that these were made specifically for the American audience. The unknown question is whether the token was struck in Birmingham for use in America or struck in America itself. No one has been able to definitively discern that.

DateTypeMintageVG ValueUnc Value
1787Auctori PlebisUnknown 500 – 1,000$125$6,000

Expand your collection today and find a 1787 Auctori Plebis Token XF-40 NGC (Brown).

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