Many of you may remember that during the summer of 2012 the Saint John Coin Club gathered at the home of one of our members for a festive barbeque, complete with great food, drink, conversation and even a little something our host is becoming known for: numismatic trivia games. I don’t recall who won the grand prize, but it wasn’t me.
I did win a prize though. Included in the nice bundle of goodies I received was something that looked interesting, but I had no clue what it could be, so it sat in that pile of items so many of us have labelled “unidentified.” Then, after a number of months, I photographed it and put it on a coin forum called coincommunity.com and in under an hour one of the members was able to let me know what it was.
It turns out it is a Washington “No Good” token. Identifying it was wonderful, but it got even better learning it may be a scarce piece. I’ve only found three references to it. First is a Heritage auction (the same people that are generously hosting our website) from 2008. The auction description states the token comprised of German silver (which, of course, doesn’t contain silver) and that there are less than 10 known, according to Russell Rulau and George Fuld’s book, Medallic Portraits of Washington. The token sold for $55.
The second reference comes from the University of Notre Dame’s collection of Washington tokens. On their numismatic page, they state the highlights of their collection and list this token as one of them. Their page states their token is the third of only three known. The point out the similarity of the reverse to the Canadian 25 cent pieces from 1870-1936, noting the small crown was only used from 1902-1905 (not acknowledging the 1906 small crown). They also note the origin of the token isn’t known.
The third reference comes from Geoffrey Bell Auctions. They listed an example of this token in their October 3, 2013 auction with a reserve of $100, but the item didn’t sell. Their auction description states there are only three known.
There doesn’t seem to be a lot known about this little token, but it’s been fun researching it, not only because of the findings, but because it’s satisfying just to find out something about what you have. I’ve also learned that it pays to know your numismatic trivia and to attend coin club functions!