Where were the first Liberian Coins manufactured?

The short answer is I don’t know, but I have some concerns about the common assertions.  This is the statement by Colver and Harley in their 1971 piece in Calcoin News:


This might go back to Low’s comments in AJN 1899:


But the problem starts to rear its head here. How does Low know about Gibbs, Gardner & Co’s foreign contacts?   It’s hard to see Gibbs, Gardner & Co actively involved in the manufacture of coins and coin like objects as early as 1833.  It’s not even clear the company existed at this point, let alone had already diversified from buttons into coins and tokens.  Where did Low get his 1835 date?  Maybe from the1884 History of Essex and Hudson Counties.  The language ‘about 50 years ago’  is frustratingly vague.


Notice that in 1884 the token/minting production of the company is seen as too insignificant to mention.  If the 1833 Liberia coin was made by  Gibbs, Gardner & Co., it would be one of the first commissions of a fledgling company.

The January annual report of the American Colonization Society from 1833 makes only the briefest mention of the coins:

Though in the view of the Managers, it is essential that Liberia should become an agricultural colony, and therefore that no measures should be adopted tending to elevate commerce at the expense of agriculture; yet the inconveniences arising from the want of a circulating medium, have caused them to resolve on the introducing a small quantity of coin. It is proposed that this coin shall bear appropriate devices and inscriptions, and that the amount shall in no degree exceed what may be required by the actual necessity of the Colony.

The coinage doesn’t even get its own budget line in the treasurer’s reports.

Are there any other candidates? Remick in the 1965 Numismatic Circular speculates:


Why is Scovill a candidate? Perhaps because Wm. Scovill is known to have been a paying contributor to the American Colonization Society by the mid 1840s at least.  And his company was well established with many government contracts by this period, having been founded in 1802.

That’s what I know so far.  I may just have to let it go.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s