Columbia Tokens

Coins For Sale

 

Surprisingly little is known about these copper farthing sized pieces which are commonly called "Columbia farthing tokens". They often have a single word "Columbia" as the legend. Popular opinion places the origin in Britain, possibly minted in Birmingham circa 1820-1830. A recent discovery of some of these tokens on a farm in Hertfordshire by detectorist Alan Parry (images below), certainly gives some credibility to the fact that these tokens are in fact British, and not Canadian pieces as was first thought.

Images courtesy of Alan Parry - Columbia Token Detecting Finds

The bust on the tokens has been attributed to both the Duke of Wellington (Britain) and Simon Bolivar (Columbia). Whilst the figure on the reverse has been attributed to both Britannia and Justice. The fact that on some of the reverses the figure is wearing a blindfold would suggest the figure is Justice, but the shield design confuses this issue where no blindfold is present.

The exact use of the items is unknown, but it is possible they were some form of gaming token, counter or card marker, although these pieces were usually made of brass.

The reference numbers and parts of the following descriptions are reprinted (with permission and thanks) to M.H.Kyle from Numismatica Canada V2 N3 Issue No 7 (Sept 2003), pages 148 - 156. These reference numbers continue on from #1 to #17 found in Token Collector's Pages by G & M Fuld.

Unless stated the images have been provided (with permission and thanks) by Ian Hartshorn, who has also substantially contributed to the addition of this section.

Due to the fact that the attribution/origin of these pieces is still unknown, further research is needed. The varieties identified to date are listed below. Should you have any examples of Columbia tokens that are not listed or any Columbia tokens you wish to sell, please feel free to contact me. Ian is also forming a club for collectors of these tokens and/or people who have a fascination with these pieces. Please visit Ian's Site for further details.

Reverse Image
Obverse Image

Reverse 1

Toothed border around CROWNED JULY 19 1821 also around a crown between branches of oak, rose, thistle and shamrocks.

Obverse A

George IV coronation medallet

Reverse 2

Solid raised inner circle, Justice facing right. Head slightly leaning forward with a blindfold. Shorter curved sword on arm between elbow and shoulder. Scale pans held by 3 straps, suspended midway between arm and leg, left pan over knee. Hand holding sword above shield and to right. Shield 3.5mm, one raised line in St. George cross. Bodice drapery has 3 folds placed centrally under the bust, with raised vertical lines in lower section. Drapery under knee has 6 curved raised lines, wavy folds near shield, bottom left fold U shaped, open to right. Exergual line 11.5mm long, uneven, grass with some bold blades. Foot 1mm from end. Numerous raised dots around design, prominent to the right of design, and under the ground.

Obverse B

Solid raised inner circle, bust facing right, legend "COLUMBIA." in smaller closely spaced letters above bust. The first curl of the hair is beneath the centre of the B.

Reverse 3

Solid raised inner circle, seated Justice facing right. Head slightly leaning forward, hair is spiky. Longer sword closer to shoulder. Scale pans held by 3 straps, suspended midway between arm and leg, left pan over knee. Hand holding sword just above shield and slightly to right. Shield 3.5mm, single raised line in St. George cross, in St. Andrews cross, upper left to lower right.
Bodice drapery has 3 folds placed centrally below bust.
Drapery under knee has 5 raised lines, wavy folds close to shield, bottom left fold U shaped, open to left.
Exergual line 11.5mm long, slightly uneven with grass leaning left. Foot 1mm from end. Raised dots prominent on upper body and left end of ground.

Obverse C

Solid raised inner circle, thin bust facing right, legend "COLUMBIA" in large lettering below the bust.

Image courtesy of Sue Hansen

Reverse 4

Beaded border, Justice facing right. Upright head on a slightly longer and thinner neck, hair has small bun at back. Shorter curved sword on arm between elbow and shoulder. Scale pans held by 3 straps and closer to arm, right pan further left over the knee. Hand holding sword well away from shield and to right. Shield 3mm, one raised line in St. George cross, one raised line in upper left section of  St. Andrews cross. Bodice drapery has 3 folds, 2 to the left and one right of centre below bust line, left fold smaller than others. Drapery under knee has 5 raised lines, wavy folds near shield, bottom left fold U shaped, open to left. Exergual line 11mm long, nearly level with short grass above. Foot close to end. Numerous raised dots around design, most prominent on upper body, and left section of ground.

Obverse D

Beaded border, bust facing right, legend "COLUMBIA" in smaller letters above the bust, a fasces with 5 raised lines and an X at each end, under the bust.

Reverse 5

Solid raised inner circle, Justice standing facing right. Sword in left hand and scales in right. Sword held approx 45º to body with a hilt ball below the hand.
Scale pans held by 3 straps, hilt ball above the hand and joining crossbeam left of centre. Long flowing gown nearly touching the ground, with extra drapery down left side. Ground is oval shaped, tapering off to rear. No grass. Raised dots prominent around left section of ground.

Obverse E

Solid raised inner circle, bust facing left.

Reverse 6

Solid raised inner circle, seated Justice facing right. Neck and head leans forward, blindfolded, bun at back, hair spiky. Longer sword closer to shoulder.
Scale pans held by 3 straps, suspended closer to leg, left pan over knee. Hilt joined to crossbeam left of centre. Hand holding sword well above shield and to right. Shield under 3mm, with plain crosses.
Bodice drapery has 4 folds under bust, 3 left of centre, 1  right. Then 4-6 raised vertical lines down to lap.
Drapery under knee has 6 weak raised lines, left bottom fold U shaped, open at the top.
Exergual line 11mm long, level with grass leaning left. Foot 1.5mm from end.

Obverse F

Solid raised inner circle, bust facing right, legend "COLUMBIA" in spaced lettering above the bust. The first curl of the hair is beneath the right leg of the M. The sideburns extend down to mouth level. The mouth is open.

 

 

Reverse 7

Solid raised inner circle, seated Justice facing right. Neck and head leans forward, bun at back. Longer sword closer to shoulder. Scale pans held by 3 straps, suspended between arm and leg. Hilt extends above hand. Hand above shield and slightly to right.
Shield 3mm. Left breast very large with long fold underneath. Drapery under the knee has 6 raised lines, wavy folds near the shield. Exergual line 11mm long, level with small amount of grass. Foot 1mm from end.

Obverse G

As obverse F, but the mouth is now closed.

 

 

Reverse 8

Solid raised inner circle, seated Justice facing right. Top part of body leaning forward. Prominent 1st curl of hair curling backwards, bun at back. Longer sword midway between arm and shoulder. Scale pans held by 3 straps, suspended midway between arm and leg, left pan above knee. Hand with sword almost touching top shield and slightly to right. Shield 3.5mm, plain crosses, RH side line of St. George vertical cross extends to ground. Bodice drapery has 3 fold under bust, 2 left and 1 right. Drapery under the knee has 3 wide raised lines, wavy folds near the shield. Exergual line 9.5mm long, level with grass leaning left. Foot very close to end.

Obverse H

Solid raised inner circle, leaner bust facing right, legend "COLUMBIA" in widely spaced letters above bust. The first curl of the hair is beneath the centre of the M. The M in COLUMBIA has been re-cut, the underlying M is to the right. It is also worth noting that the left leg of the M is attached to the lower centre of the M. The nose is straight.

Reverse 9

Solid raised inner circle, seated Justice facing right. Top part of body leaning forward, with straighter legs.
Longer thinner neck thrusting head forward, has facial features of chin, sunken eyes and nose, hair appears upside down with curls pointing downwards. Short curved sword closer to shoulder. Scale pans held by 3 straps, outside straps continue down outside of pans. Suspended between arm and leg. Hilt off centre to right on crossbeam. Hand with sword above shield and slightly to right. Shield under 3mm, pellet in centre of crosses, continuous vertical sides of St. George cross through centre. Bodice drapery has more detail.
Drapery under the knee has 4 wide curved lines, wavy folds near the shield. Exergual line 10mm long, level with downward hook at left end, grass has some bold blades. Foot close to end. Raised dots prominent on leg,  arm holding scales and left of shield on grass.

Obverse J

Solid raised inner circle, bust facing right, legend "COLUMBIA." in spaced lettering above bust. The first curl of the hair is between the M and the B, and the base of the bust is also at a noticably shallower angle. Indistinguishable ear, and also the neck and face appear gaunt.

Reverse 10

Solid raised inner circle, seated Justice facing right. Facial features detectable, hair is straight pointing 45º to left. Longer sword closer to shoulder. Scale pans held by 3 straps, connected to inside of ends on crossbeam. Crossbeam closer to arm, left pan further away from knee. Left angled hilt-end and ball above hand. Hand with sword touching shield and to right.
Shield under 3.5mm, lower left section being re-cut. Upper line on horizontal stripe of St. George cross is continuous through centre. Bodice drapery has incuse line under bust with no folds. Drapery under knee has 6 curved lines, 4th and 5th weaker joining the 3rd,  6th line from wavy folds extends to ankle. Bottom left fold U shaped and open to left. Exergual line 10.5mm long, nearly level with grass leaning right. Foot 1.5mm from end. Raised dots prominent on bottom left section of the ground.

Obverse K

Solid raised inner circle, bust facing right, legend "COLUMBIA" in larger widely spaced letters above bust. The first curl of the hair on the forehead is beneath the right leg of the M. The nose tip is prominent, and the sideburns extend down to mouth level. The M in COLUMBIA has been re-cut, the underlying M is to the right. Similar to Obverse F, but the portrait (especially the nose) is noticably different.

Reverse 11

Solid raised inner circle, seated Justice facing right. Facial features detectable, bolder brow, protruding jaw, larger bun between back and top of head. Shorter sword closer to shoulder. Scale pans held by 3 closer straps, shorter hilt with crossbeam closer to arm, an oval ball above hand, also extending past the crossbeam and joined by a large pellet. Left pan close to knee. Hand with sword above shield and to right.
Shield 4mm, with 2 raised lines in wider vertical stripe of St. George cross. Bodice drapery has different detail and covering the breast’s outline. Drapery under knee has 8 straight folds, from top of shield fanning down to ground. Exergual line 11mm long, nearly level, grass vertical at left then leaning right to foot. Foot 1mm from end

Obverse L

Solid raised inner circle, younger bust facing right, legend "COLUMBIA" in larger letters above bust. The first curl of the hair is just beneath the B. The hair is much straighter than on other busts.

Reverse 12

Solid raised inner circle, seated Justice facing right, giving the appearance of hovering above the shield. Large bun at the back of the head. Shorter sword closer to shoulder. Two single triangle shaped straps holding flatter pans, crossbeam closer to arm. Right pan higher than left. Hand with sword well above shield and to right. Shield 3.5mm, wide rim, plain crosses with thicker lines. Bodice drapery has one wide fold under the bust, 3 raised vertical lines in lower section.
Drapery under knee has 7 straight folds, from top of shield fanning down to ground. Exergual line 11mm long, uneven with shorter grass. Foot very close to end.

Obverse M

Solid raised inner circle, bust facing right, legend "COLUMBIA" in larger letters above bust. The spacing between the C and O is noticably less than the other letters.The first curl of the hair is beneath the B. It is also worth noting that the right leg of the M is attached to the lower centre of the M.

Reverse 13

Solid raised inner circle, seated Justice facing right. Head and neck leans forward, cone shaped head with small bun at back. Longer curved sword closer to shoulder. Scale pans held by 3 straps, suspended midway between arm and leg, left pan over knee
Hand with sword almost touching the top of shield, slightly right of centre. Shield 3.5mm, wide rim, plain crosses with thicker lines. Bodice drapery has 3 small folds, 2 to the left, 1 to the right under bust line.
Drapery under knee has 5 curved lines, with the lower 5th line forking into two. Wavy folds close to shield. Exergual line 11mm long, level, grass leaning right and curling left. Foot close to end.

Obverse N

Solid broad rim with a weak raised inner circle, bust facing right, legend "COLUMBIA" in medium sized letters above bust. The first curl of the hair is between the M and the B. The portrait is again different this time with a long straight nose, a concave forehead and substantial sideburns extending down the face level with the mouth.

Reverse 14

Solid raised inner circle, seated Justice facing right. Hair curling back, large curl at back of head. Longer sword with spiked end, closer to shoulder. Scale pans held by 3 straps, suspended midway between arm and leg, left pan above knee. Hilt left of centre on crossbeam. Hand with sword above shield and slightly to right. Shield under 3mm, traces of a raised line in St. Andrews cross. Bodice drapery has 3 small folds under the bust. Drapery under knee has 6 raised curved lines, wavy folds near shield. Bottom left fold is square U shape, open at top. Exergual line 10mm long, almost level, grass leaning left. Foot close to end.

 

 

Known Die Combinations
Reverse
Obverse
Kyle/Fuld No:
Ref No:
1
A
2
CG-COL-1A
1
K
1
CG-COL-1K
2
B
3
CG-COL-2B
2
C
21
CG-COL-2C
3
B
22
CG-COL-3B
3
C
4
CG-COL-3C
3
G
11
CG-COL-3G
4
C
9
CG-COL-4C
4
D
5
CG-COL-4D
5
E
6,7 & 8
CG-COL-5E
3
F
10
CG-COL-3F
6
H
12
CG-COL-6H
7
H
13
CG-COL-7H
8
H
14
CG-COL-8H
9
J
15
CG-COL-9J
10
K
16 - Also found with medal alignment
CG-COL-10K
11
L
17
CG-COL-11L
12
M
18
CG-COL-12M
13
J
19
CG-COL-13J
14
N
20
CG-COL-14N
 

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