8.3   Unflattering Engravings

Trade dollars were not well liked by the public when used domestically in commerce. Merchants often discounted the coins or even did not accept them at all. Being large, silver, and with a seated figure, it is no wonder that this disliked coin served as the canvas for some distasteful artwork by a few people. Commonly referred to as “potty dollars,” they showed Liberty seated on an engraved chamber pot. Ironically, some of the examples are very well executed and rival the finest love tokens in their artistry.

While not as vilified as Trade dollars by the public, twenty-cent pieces were disliked and perhaps provided the encouragement of some to create smaller versions of a “potty dollar.” Potty engravings on twenty-cent pieces are rare.

The following are photos of two such potty coins.


Two twenty-cent “potty coins”

Copyright © 2013-2014, by Lane J. Brunner and John M. Frost, All rights reserved.