Skip to main content

Viewpoint: Civil War token found in cent roll

 An 1863 Civil War token from Oshkosh, Wis., turned up in a bank roll of cents purchased from a bank in California.

An 1863 Civil War token from Oshkosh, Wis., turned up in a bank roll of cents purchased from a bank in California.

By Matthew Malvini

My name is Matthew Malvini. I am a youth coin collector from San Jose, Calif., and for the past several years, I’ve been expanding my penny and nickel collection by going to my local Wells Fargo. About every week, I go over there and purchase either boxes of nickels or boxes of pennies. Over the years, I’ve found Buffalo nickels, proof coins and even Indian Head pennies.

However, my most remarkable and oldest find I’ve gotten from a bank box occurred in October of last year. I ordered two boxes of pennies as I usually did and before I opened any coin rolls, I checked the ends of each roll for any old wheat pennies, Indians, etc. Well, in one of the rolls I got, I noticed a very old coin; it had a very dark appearance to it. As I looked at it closer, I found out that the coin read “1863” on it. It turns out that what I had found was an 1863 Civil War Token from Oshkosh, Wis. What I found truly amazing about finding something this old was, how did it even get over to California from Wisconsin?

A man by the name of Mr. Mike Turrini suggested that I contact you about possibly writing a small article in the Numismatic News about me finding such a rare find in something as common as a penny roll. I’d truly appreciate it if I was able to get my story out into the coin collecting community with your help. I have included several images of the token on the ends of the roll and out of the roll. Thank you very much for your time!

Viewpoint0320 horiz

This “Viewpoint” was written by Matthew Malvini, a collector from San Jose, Calif.

To have your opinion considered for Viewpoint, write to David C. Harper, Editor, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. Send email to

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News. >> Subscribe today.

More Collecting Resources

• Subscribe to our monthly Coins magazine - a great resource for any collector!

• The 1800s were a time of change for many, including in coin production. See how coin designs grew during the time period in the Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900 .