The size and color of a 1 cent penny, the hard times tokens were considered unofficial currency during 1833 through 1843. They were worth $30 – $150; used during financial and political crisis of the Country.
“I Take the Responsibility” – are the words etched into one of many of these privately made pieces; the image of Andrew Jackson on a ship imprinted front and center.
During Andrew Jackson’s, presidential re-election in 1832, he called for a dissolvement of the SBUS (Second Bank of the United States).
After winning the election, Jackson successfully weakened the banking system. This caused a severe paper money gap, creating a domino effect within the banking pyramid. The issuing of an astronomical amount of bank notes, led to inflation.
In an attempt to correct the unexpected effects of inflation, Jackson issued an executive order, stating as of August 15, 1836, banks and all other merchants were required to accept only gold and silver coins in payment for public lands.
Instead this act became the death of economic prosperity because people began hoarding their coins as a form of self-protection and survival.
This hoarding of the coins, created financial troubles for all banks and all merchants; as they had no coins to pay out. Banks and business failed instantaneously, which led to the great depression.
With the ending of Andrew Jackson’s presidential term, and the beginning of Martin Van Buren’s term; came the Panic of 1837, better known as the “Hard Times.”