EIC Merchant’s Mark

Obverse of 1791 EIC coin

The balemark or merchant’s mark on a 1791 coin from British India. This is a 2 Pice coin from the Bombay Presidency.

The mark identified products from the United East India Company as they were sold around the world. It was also called a “chop” derived from a Hindi word for “stamp.”


1786 Sumatra 3 Keping

A crummy example of an East India Company 3 Keping coin. The obverse shows the bale mark, or merchant’s mark, of the company and the date 1786. The reverse has Jawi script with the denomination and Islamic calendar date of 1200.

The Kepings were the first coins made by Matthew Boulton’s Soho Mint in England and first numismatic pieces that used James Watt’s steam engine.

Reference: https://en.numista.com/catalogue/pieces320044.html


I took this photo for a coin club contest. Alas, I didn’t win, but it was fun creating the image. I used my old Nikon digital D40 camera and a 105 mm micro Nikkor lens.

Caliper measuring diameter of 1967 French 10 Francs coin

This 1967 silver coin shows the “Hercules Group” surrounded by this powerful demand of French nationalism:


The engraver, Augustin Dupré, created his allegoric compositions using symbolism of antiquity. Hercules was a devine hero of Greek mythology.

United Nations Emergency Force Scrip

Scrip paper worth 5 Piastres labelled “MIDDLE EAST,” “U.N.E.F.”, “NOT GOOD IF DETACHED”, and “108830”.

A rare note, or emergency scrip, was used during the 1956 Suez Crisis by the United Nations Emergency Force. It was likely used by British and French soldiers to trade at camp stores and recreation facilities in the Sinai Peninsula.

A booklet of these scrips was sold at a Spink auction in 2013. That catalog said the tickets were printed by the Globe ticket company in Philadelphia.

Spink wrote, “a most unusual item, presumably for use in the NAAFI or similar by French and British forces during the Suez crisis.”

I had to look up “NAAFI” and found that it stood for the “Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes”. This company was created by the British government to run recreational facilities for the British Armed Forces and its bases around the world.

Suez Canal Nearly Complete / Woodblock / April 3, 1869

This woodblock engraving from April 3, 1869, shows the Suez Canal nearing completion. I am interested in the history of the canal and the people who built it. I have a few tokens used by workers at the company store.

The Illustrated London News, April 3, 1869

Laborers are shown removing rock in a section of the canal. The canal, 164 kilometers long and 8 meters deep, was an enormous engineering challenge. The waterway passed through mostly sand and low lying lakes and rivers connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea,

The canal took 10 years to build. Ferdinand de Lesseps formed the Suez Canal Company to finance and build the canal. The company completed it in November 1869, seven months after this newspaper was printed.

A construction company called Ch. & A. Bazin issued this French Franc token in 1865. It can be found in denominations of 5 Francs, 1 Franc, 50 Centimes, and 20 Centimes.

Rare North West Territory Fur Trade Token Sold

This is an interesting, rare 1 MB trade token from the early 20th century. It was used by fur traders with a company called Lamson and Hubbard Canadian Company. That company competed with the Hudson’s Bay Company in the territory around Baker Lake, Nunavut. There are three denominations in these Made Beaver tokens: ½, 1, and 5. All of them are rare.

eBay auction: 353434802900
Ended: April 03, 2021 19:13
Winning bid: US $600
Bidders: 8
Sold from: Modesto, California

CCC Token eBay Sales in 2020

For the second year in a row, I’ve tracked the sales of all CCC tokens on eBay. What follows is summary information for those token sales in 2020. See last year’s numbers here.

Number Sold68
Total Value$7,923
Average Price$117
Sale FrequencyEvery 5.4 days

The least expensive token sold for $18. It was a 5 cent piece from Company 1754, McGregor, Iowa. The most expensive one sold for $567. It was a 5 cent piece from Company 4471, Bishopville, South Carolina.

A total of 37 different denominations and companies were sold last year. The reference catalog says there are 288 different pieces in the series, so only 13 percent were available for sale this year on eBay.

This table shows the number of tokens sold from some of the most common tokens:

Number of SalesCompanyLocation
11Company 1754Mcgregor, Iowa
7Company 1455Unicoi, Tennessee
5Company 610Stockton, Illinois
4Company 1780Mt Nebo, Arkansas

There were 16 sales with a sales price of $200 or more.

1/1/20205 centsCompany 1501$250
1/12/20205 centsCompany 2719$207
2/22/20205 centsCompany 6419$275
3/1/202010 centsCompany 1455$233
3/15/20205 centsCompany 2315$253
3/20/202010 centsCompany 769$286
3/22/20205 centsCompany NF 7$253
6/13/20205 centsCompany 4471$567
7/11/20205 centsCompany 725$228
7/14/202010 centsCompany 770$340
10/12/2020Bottle DepositCompany 2605$358
10/18/20205 centsCompany P 59$353
10/30/20205 centsCompany 2501$207
11/15/202010 centsCompany 770$316
11/21/202010 centsCompany 1455$293
12/13/20201 GameCompany 3760$267

Camp Hedges, Arkansas

This brass token was used by members of the CCC stationed at Camp Hedges in Stone County, Arkansas. The coins reads:


No other denominations are known from Company 743. These tokens are scarce. According to my records, only one example was sold on eBay in 2019 or 2020.

Hedges is an historic community in the Ozark National Forest. The camp was built during the Great Depression as part of the New Deal. The Civilian Conservation Corp program provided jobs for young men.

Camp Hedges built roads, bridges, dams, trails, and campgrounds. Some of that infrastructure still stands today, including Gunner Pool dam. Camp members also fought forest fires and did conservation work in the Sylamore District of the national forest.

References: https://encyclopediaofarkansas.net and Manderscheid catalog of CCC tokens (see references).

Egypt on July 26, 1956

On July 26, 1956, Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal. It had been owned by France and Britain until then.

That same year, Egypt issued a new 25 Qirsh coin to mark the occasion. It’s a large coin, 35 mm, and made of 72% silver. There were 258,000 minted.

The obverse shows the front facade of the Suez Canal Company building in Port Said.

The reverse shows the denomination in the center (٢٥) “25” and the word Qirsh (قرشا) below it. The dates of 1956-1375 (١٣٧٥-١٩٥٦) are below that. The winged sun design is featured at the bottom.