Colonials : Pre-1776 Private and Regional Issues : Elephant Tokens

Obverse of Elephant Token - Thick Reverse of Elephant Token - Thick
From "The Early Coins of America" by Sylvester S. Crosby: "The pieces first to be described in this chapter are two which were perhaps not intended for circulation as currency, but are introduced here, as no more appropriate place offers for their insertion. These were issued in 1694, probably in London, and are now know as the Carolina, and the New England, Elephant tokens.

They were struck upon copper planchets of very unusual weight, the New England token in Mr. Appleton's collection weighing 236 grains, while the only other known, Mr. Parmelee's, (which is somewhat worn,) is much thinner, and weighs but 133 grains; the Carolinas are more regular in this respect, their weight ranging from 130 to 162 grains.

It is not known whether these tokens were intended to serve as coins, or were struck only as medals, to increase or perpetuate the interest in the American plantation; the latter seems much the more reasonable view of their purpose.

Smelling, writing in 1769, makes no mention of the New England tokens, but says of the Carolina, "We cannot ourselves conceive the intent of striking it or for what purpose it was intended; however, we think it has no claim to be admitted as a piece of money, but rather is of the ticket kind, and we are of the same opinion in regard to another piece, which is certainly of the same class with this; be it what it will, it is what we call the London Halfpenny, one side of both, that is the Elephant, we apprehend, was struck from the same dye, which is still remaining in the Tower, and appears to be the work of Rotiers; on the other side instead of God Preserve Carolina and the Lords Proprietors 1694, as upon this; there is upon that, round the city arms, God Preserve London; we have heard two or three opinions concerning the intent its inscription alludes to the plague, and was struck whilst it raged in London; and we have likewise heard it was intended to be made current at Tangier in Africa, but never took place."

Undated Thick Planchet ("GOD PRESERVE LONDON" on reverse)
Undated Thin Planchet ("GOD PRESERVE LONDON" on reverse)
Undated Thin Planchet (Diagonal lines in center of shield on reverse)
Undated Thin Planchet (Sword in upper right quadrant of shield on reverse)
Undated Thin Planchet ("LON DON" on reverse)
1694 "PROPRIETERS" on reverse
1694 "PROPRIETORS" on reverse
1694 "NEW ENGLAND" on reverse
Struck copies by Robinson