Rare Money Blog

Revisiting the Eagle from earlier weeks

Revisiting the Enigmatic “Let the Egle Fly” Token

By Q. David Bowers, Co-Founder

Author: Q. David Bowers / Thursday, August 29, 2019 / Categories: From the Desk of Q. David Bowers

Several weeks ago I invited readers to contact me about a curious token that has puzzled me and others for a long time. The inscription reads: LET THE EGLE FLY  / J.S.G.S.L.C.O. The reverse shows an eagle vertically, without legs or talons, with a shield on its breast. Seven stars are above. Below the eagle are seven stars, the date 1846, and 2 more stars.

Douglas Nyholm, well-known Salt Lake City numismatist and author, has checked with historians at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and has found that there is no official connection between this token and the church. That eliminated one avenue of research. Robert D. Leonard. Jr. (Bob) has given me valuable ideas and pedigrees of known examples. This information reduces my earlier estimate of more than a dozen known to just a handful. William Hyder directed me to the sun stones of Nauvoo with a design similar to the face of the token.   Dr. J.M. Galst also shared information.

This led me to learn of two related varieties, one of which has a Liberty Head on the obverse (the design of the 1795-1807 $5 gold coin) with 11 stars and the date 1846, and with an eagle reverse similar to the foregoing, but with the stars differently arranged and without the date 1846.

If any readers of this blog own any of these tokens or have images of them to share, e-mail me. Bob Leonard and I will add them to the present censuses. I will be gathering more information in coming weeks that may lead to a small book on these tokens and various Mormon notes and coins.

All good wishes,

Dave Bowers