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Municipal Tokens (Coinage)

Starting in the latter part of the 18th century and continuing through to the 1880s, municipalities, or people doing businesses with them, issued municipal tokens (or coins). Some of the coins bearing the name of a municipality also have the name or initials of an individual who may or may not have been authorized to strike coins for circulation.

Many are uniface - that is, struck on one side only. The majority of coins were die struck, using two dies. A few were made by using incuse punches. In several instances, worn state coppers were countermarked with initials to circulate in specific localities.

Although they did make small transactions easier, profit motive was probably the main reason for coinage of copper coins. Copper was much cheaper in intrinsic value than silver. Labor was cheap and simple dies could not have been very expensive.

The only book dealing exclusively with the subject of municipal coins of Mexico is Mauricio Fernandez Garza ‘s Las Monedas Municipales Mexicanas, which lists and illustrates approximately 300 different pieces. Manuel Romero de Terreros’ Las Monedas de Necesidad del Estado de MichoacánManuel Romero de Terreros, Las Monedas de Necesidad del Estado de Michoacán, Anales del Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas; Vol. II, Núm. 5, 1940, available in the USMexNA online library.give a careful description of 156 entries of municipal and hacienda pieces of the state of Michoacán.