The New Yorke in America token has long been a numismatic enigma. It first came to public attention in an article by Fisk Parsons Brewer, "The Earliest New York Token" published in the Historical Magazine of May 1861. Until recently there was little consensus on the origin, purpose, dating or even the identification of the imagery on this undated token. There was not even a consensus on which side was the obverse and which was the reverse!
Some considered this token to date from the Seventeenth Century based on the spelling of Yorke, while others thought it to be a Nineteenth Century fantasy creation. Further, very few examples of the token exist. Crosby only knew of four examples, three made of lead and one of brass. Today we know of four lead examples and twenty in brass.
The landmark article on this token was published in 1992 by John Kleeberg, Curator of Modern Coins and Currency at the American Numismatic Society. By tracing the provenance of known examples Kleeberg was able to determine that many examples could be definitively traced back to Europe. Kleeberg also noted several unusual features on this token: the lack of a date, the use of English for the legend rather than Latin, the existence of both brass and lead examples, significant weight variation between examples (from 1.35 to 3.56 grams for this farthing size token, which is below the regal farthing weight of 4.72 grams) and an irregular die axis (that is, the alignment of the obverse and reverse, in this case between varying between 11:00 and 12:00 o'clock).
All of these clues led Kleeberg to consider examining the New Yorke token in relation to the merchant farthings and halfpence tokens produced in England during the Seventeenth Century until 1673, when private tokens were demonetized in favor of regal copper coinage.