Colonial Coins by Type | U.S. Coins by Denomination

Obverse of 1789 Mott Token - Thick Planchet     Reverse of 1789 Mott Token - Thick Planchet


PCGS Nos: 603, 604, 606, 607


Designer: Robert Lovett, Sr.

Diameter:  26.2-29.0 millimeters

Metal content:

Weight: 8-11 grams

Edge: Plain or engrailed

Mintmark: None (all Mott Tokens were struck privately)

Images courtesy of Early American History Auctions, Inc.

I. Thin Planchet 
   A. Copper 
      1. Engrailed edge
      2. Plain edge
      3. Lettered edge:
          PAYABLE AT LIVERPOOL... (untraced)
      4. Overstrike (possible forgery)
      5. Multiple strikes on a broad planchet
   B. Pewter
II. Thick Planchet 
   A. Copper
      1. Plain edge

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The Mott Token was once believed to be America's first native trade token.  However, much mystery also surrounded the pieces, such as who made them and when.  Previous authors have attributed them to various members of the Mott family (including some who turned out to be grocers!).  The dating of the token has ranged from 1789 (the date on the coin) to as late as the 1830s.  In 2002, researcher Wesley S. Cox and Russell Rulau presented evidence linking the Mott Tokens to other private tokens issued by Robert S. Lovett, Jr., thus placing the Mott Tokens somewhere in the period between 1832-1844.  Efforts to place the dating of the Mott Tokens in the late 1830's based on a unique example allegedly overstruck on a Large Cent have been discounted because of the questionable authenticity of the piece.

The eagle design on the reverse of the Mott Tokens is very similar to the design by John Reich that appears on U.S. gold coins beginning in 1807.

The finest Uncirculated examples graded by PCGS are four MS-64's.

Sources and/or recommended reading:
"The PCGS Population Report, April 2002" by The Professional Coin Grading Service

"1789 Mott Token Likely From 1830s" by Russell Rulau, NUMISMATIC NEWS, July 23, 2002, pages 1 and 40-43

"Standard Catalog of United States Tokens 1700-1900" by Russell Rulau