"There are a couple of eight sided large cents shown on the Coin Community site. In my opinion, the 1854 cent shown was originally a round mint-struck cent. The
bulging of the rims indicates that it was hammered into this shape although squeezing in a vice might produce similar results. The modification could have been done in 1855 or
1955. If you want one done in 2019, I can get that for you.
"If one such piece was done for the Underground Railroad, that does not prove that any other piece was done for the same purpose. Without documentation tied to a specific
piece, they are just severely damaged cents."
"I've long collected and studied what I call "repurposed coins" - a euphemism for intentionally damaged coins. While counterstamps have been my main focus,
other intriguing pieces, like Tony Payne's octagonal large cent never fail to catch my eye and imagination. A few thoughts immediately come to mind ....
"Tens of thousands of counterstamped coins owe their damage to machinists, plying their trade. They made the punches, which often included the manufacture of their own,
personal name punch. They were masons who would naturally test and show their skills, their precision work. Lowly copper coins tended to often be subjected to their
"I've long wondered if any repurposed coppers could have been utilized by members of the underground railroad. I've continually searched early newspapers,
books and periodicals over the years, hoping to find documentation for this possibly contemporary use of coins as such. I've yet to catch a scent. The most intriguing
possibility to me are the MY (star) counterstamps, of which a half dozen or more have been thus far reported; all, on half cents. The latest dated host coin is 1835.
"The only contemporary, documented use of purposely damaged large cents that I've been able to find addresses the cause of Civil War era copperheads. I'm attaching
herewith an article on that subject that I penned not too long ago. Might Tony Payne's octagonal coin have been made for a copperhead? If so, was it sarcastically fashioned
into the shape of a nut? Interesting thoughts to ponder, these, but only the long gone maker knows for sure!
"Exonumismatically yours, Bill Groom"