The Seven 1795 Washington Liberty and Security Tokens
The Washington Liberty and Security Tokens were yet additional tokens that were made in Birmingham, England in the late 1790s. Like others before them – Hancock and Getz – these tokens were produced in hopes of securing a contract from the fledgling American government for circulating coinage. The US Mint had only begun to produce a small number of copper coins in 1793.
The makers of these tokens replicated the fatal flaw of the previous designers. They used George Washington as the model for the central design. Washington, unlike King George III, did NOT want his likeness to appear on coinage. Washington considered that monarchial and he had just spent almost a decade fighting against a monarchy for America’s independence!
There are two different types of Liberty and Security Tokens and several variations of each making for approximately seven distinct different Tokens. The first token, designed by Thomas Wyon, is undated and features a military bust of George Washington, facing right. Above Washington are the words “GEORGE WASHINGTON” around the top periphery.
The reverse features a shield bisected in two parts. The shield has 15 five-pointed stars to the right and a shield with 15 lines to the left or it. There is a scrawny eagle atop the shield with wings upraised. In the eagle’s left talon are 3 arrows and in the right talon is an olive branch. Around the top of the periphery is “LIBERTY AND SECURITY” with the three words separated by the two eagle’s wings. The edge of this variety bears the legend “AN ASYLUM FOR THE OPPRESS’D OF ALL NATIONS” and a rare variety has a plain edge.
The remaining issue for this type is very similar except that the edge is corded. Otherwise, the obverse design of President George Washington, in a military coat, facing left with “GEORGE WASHINGTON” at the upper periphery is the exact same as the first one. The reverse with the scrawny eagle atop the divided shield with “LIBERTY AND SECURITY” divided by the eagle’s upstretched wings is exactly the same. This other undated token has a corded outer rim to differentiate from the prior example.
The dated – 1795 – examples come in five varieties. The slightly smaller example is referred to as a “Halfpenny” and the obverse depicts a military bust of Washington, facing right this time with “GEORGE WASHINGTON” above. The reverse has a scrawny eagle surmounting a large, divided shield, with 15 five-pointed stars, on a lined field, on the right side of the shield and 15 vertical stripes on the left side. The words “LIBERTY AND SECURITY” are divided by the eagle’s upstretched wings. The date “17 95” is separated by the bottom portion of the shield and it has a plain edge.
There are four additional varieties of this exact same token, but the difference lies in that three out of the four of them are inscribed on the edge as follows:
- “PAYABLE AT LONDON LIVERPOOL OR BRISTOL”
- “BIRMINGHAM REDRUTH & SWANSEA”
- “AN ASYLUM FOR THE OPPRESS’D OF ALL NATIONS”
On the fourth token, has a plain edge but is struck on a significantly larger planchet so it is considered a “Penny” Token. It also has an edge inscribed with “AN ASYLUM FOR THE OPPRESS’D OF ALL NATIONS”.
|Date||Type||Mintage||Fine Value||Unc Value|
|1795||Halfpenny, Plain Edge||Unknown||$150||$2,750|
|1795||Halfpenny, LONDON Edge||Unknown||$140||$2,650|
|1795||Halfpenny, BIRMINGHAM Edge||Unknown||$165||$2,800|
|1795||Halfpenny, ASYLUM Edge||Unknown||$225||$3,250|
|1795||Penny (Size), ASYLUM Edge||Unknown||$7,500||$30,000|
|(1795)||Undated, Plain Edge||Unknown||$325||$2,000|
|(1795)||Undated, Corded Outer Rims||Unknown||$750||$9,000|
Expand your collection today and find a 1795 Washington Liberty & Security Halfpenny XF-45 PCGS (London).