The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 19, Number 1, January 3, 2016, Article 15


Here is an excerpt from an article titled eBay Adventures (or Be Careful Out There) by John Ostendorf, which appeared in the Winter 2015 issue of the Civil War Token Journal. Thanks to Susan Trask for sending the files, and Larry Dzuibek for bringing the issue to my attention. -Editor

eBay is many things to collectors. Overall, it is a positive thing. For exonumia collectors, eBay has been a great resource in that much more is available. Let's face it, the majority of coin dealers don't handle much exonumia, so coin shops and coin shows are not a great source for exonumia collectors. eBay has certainly given exonumia collectors a great resource for obtaining material for their collections.

On the other hand, eBay has also been a great resource for sellers that may not be as reputable as your local coin dealer. There are some very good sellers on eBay (I can think of three Civil War token dealers off the top of my head); however, there are also many shady characters out there. Anyone who has dealt with eBay for very long is well aware that eBay doesn't go out of its way to police unscrupulous activity. There are mechanisms to report improper behavior or questionable listings, but it has been my experience that eBay does nothing with the report.

John opens with a discussion of offerings for some well-known fantasy "Civil War" pieces before moving on to several questionable Civil War Token offerings -Editor

Isaac Shindler IN-770C Civil War token possible counterfeit

Another “Civil War token” has been showing up with some regularity of late. IN-770C-1a is a very popular token due to its depiction of two hats from the Civil War era. Three examples of this rarity 6 token have appeared this summer, two from a seller from the Czech Republic and another from Greece.

They all may be the real deal, but what are all these IN-770C-1s doing in Europe? Also, why are they all showing up all of a sudden? Will we be seeing more of these coming out of Europe? I would be interested in hearing from any reader who may have purchased one of these. I recently "won" one of these auctions so I could closely examine it. As of the time of this writing, it has yet to arrive from the Czech Republic. If it isn't an obvious fake, I may send it to NGC for verification.

A seller from Cyprus recently sold about a dozen purported CWTs. Most were fairly common tokens and looked like they might be okay, but had odd coloration. However, they were sold at the same time by the same seller as these two obvious fakes:

possible counterfeit Civil War Toeksnfrom Cyprus

If you look closely, you will see that both of these "tokens" exhibit bubbles (probably because they were cast and not struck). They both also show very "mushy" lettering throughout and the Ripon piece shows odd coloration as well. If a [reader] won either of these lots, I would be interested in hearing from you. I suspect there is a line on the rim, perhaps filed down, that would be further evidence that these were cast.

I reported these obvious fakes to eBay which did nothing of course. My point is that you can't rely on eBay to ensure the accuracy of a listing or to ensure the items for sale on eBay are authentic. Sure they have a policy against selling fakes, but eBay has demonstrated over the years that it isn't exactly interested in enforcing it.

The point to be made here is that while there are some very good eBay sellers, there are also unethical sellers on eBay. Don't expect eBay to save you from a bad experience. Do business with reputable sellers and you may want to consider submitting your tokens to a third party grading service. Arm yourself through education and a healthy dose of skepticism and be careful out there!

Larry Dziubek writes:

Fake (cast) tokens are coming from eastern Europe and Greece. NGC certified several that we submitted as bad. We think the same guy is now auctioning fakes from Bulgaria. Incidentally, the previous sellers shipped from Bulgaria so it is possible that this is all the same individual. He also sold better date Indian Head cents. I believe he sold fake European badges and medals in earlier eBay sales. The seller gives quick refunds to those who report dissatisfaction so as NOT to get bad Feedback. Through the strong efforts of the Civil War Token Society officers who complained to eBay , over fifty phony looking tokens disappeared from his recent offerings.

Paul Cunningham writes:

When one party (eBay) is shown beyond a reasonable doubt that a person (the faker) is selling trash as "gold," does that make the one party committing collusion with the other? Isn't that illegal most everywhere?

Caveat emptor! John provided the below listing of suspected fakes recently offered on eBay (and which could in turn begin showing up in other numismatic channels). Thanks! -Editor

Liberty head (5)/God Protect the Union (288)
Army and Navy/The Federal Union (won't hazard a guess at attributing)
Army George Washington (108)/Our Union (201)
Army Capitol (233)/Army & Navy (312)
Army Horrors of War (256)/Union For Ever (433)

MI-225K-3a (Broeg & Gerber, Detroit)
MI-225M-3a (Busch, Detroit)
MI-225AFa-7a (Gies, Detroit)
MI-225AM-2a (Hilterscheid, Detroit)
MI-225CC-3a (Sutherland, Detroit)
NJ-885A-2b (Titus, Trenton)
NY-695A-2a (Marshall, Oswego)
OH-115B-5a (Squier, Cambridge)
OH-165T-5a (Campbell, Cincinnati)
OH-165BD-3a (Gentsch, Cincinati)
OH-165FC-2a (Sacksteder, Cincinnati)
OH-165FZ-3a (Sutton, Cincinnati)

For more information about the Civil War Token Society, see:

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at

To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor at this address:

To subscribe go to:



Copyright © 1998 - 2020 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
All Rights Reserved.

NBS Home Page
Contact the NBS webmaster