John Sutter Made Tin Coins - Where Can I Find Them : LUSENET : San Francisco History : One Thread

I have called about a dozen coin dealers and no one can tell me where I can find the coins that John Sutter made at his fort. Before gold was discovered Sutter needed some way to pay his people for their work other then by trade so he began making coins out of tin. Surely some of those tin coins must still exist somehwere.

-- Harry Murphy (, December 02, 2001


Hi. Sorry I cannot answer your initial enquir but, I have tin coins I have come across here in Thailand. I have a few from Burma 500 years old.They are coming out of pottery in graves. I also have a couple from the old Kingdom of Funan in Asia which went out of existance hundreds of years ago. I can send you a scan if you wish to see them. Sincerely James Price

-- James H Price. (, February 04, 2004.

Sutters coins were very crude and I wonder if they would even be considered coins. Possibly tokens, or Company scrip might be more approprate because they had no value outside sutters fort and were redeemable only at his store..

the writings of Journalist Edward Gould Buffum (18201867) The history of John A. Sutter, and his remarkable settlement on the banks of the Sacramento, has been one of interest since California first began to attract attention. Captain Sutter is by birth a Swiss, and was formerly an officer in the French army. He emigrated to the United States, became a naturalized citizen, and resided in Missouri several years. In the year 1839 he emigrated to the then wilderness of California, where he obtained a large grant of land, to the extent of about eleven leagues, bordering on the Sacramento River, and made a settlement directly in the heart of an Indian country, among tribes of hostile savages. For a long time he suffered continual attacks and depredations from the Indians, but finally succeeded, by kind treatment and good offices, in reducing them to subjection, and persuading them to come into his settlement, which he called New Helvetia. With their labour he built a large fort of adobes or sunburnt bricks, brought a party of his Indians under military discipline, and established a regular garrison. His wheat-fields were very extensive, and his cattle soon numbered five thousand, the whole labour being performed by Indians. These he paid with a species of money made of tin, which was stamped with dots, indicating the number of days' labour for which each one was given; and they were returned to him in exchange for cotton cloth, at a dollar a yard, and trinkets and sweetmeats at corresponding prices.

"I paid them in blankets and then in special tin coins redeemable at my store. It was a great assistance to us that we could hire the Indians as laborers so very cheaply. They make slavery wholly unnecessary." - John Sutter (Hmmmm...)

Nevertheless, I too, would like to see one of these coins.

-- will (, February 05, 2004.

Thank you Will. I hadn't seen that before about the the coins being stamped. That will be one thing that will help me identify one if I ever come across it.

-- Harry Murphy (harrymurphy*, February 05, 2004.

Harry, how would you authenticate one? Perhaps I have an old tin plate, tinsnips, and a trusty, albeit rusty, Swiss made center punch in my basement....I'd be happy to sell you a couple of coins....genuine, guaranteed!

-- will (, February 05, 2004.

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