Question: I have my eye on a 1796 P.P.P. Myddelton token, preferably in copper, as I like the toning. I have been tracking these for some time and have bid on several, but so far with no success. Ten years ago I bid on a nicely toned silver coin and missed that also. Do you have any advice for me?—R.S.
Answer: The copper Myddelton token is sort of an evergreen item, a bit rarer than the silver, which is also a classic. In 1875 in The Early Coins of America, Sylvester S. Crosby paid this piece the ultimate compliment: “In beauty of design and execution, the tokens are unsurpassed by any piece issued for American circulation.”
My own philosophy on tokens and medals, and I often have my eye on Civil War tokens I need, is to bid whatever it takes—but not absurdly—as after the auction I own the token, instead of still wanting it. This has worked well over the years for tokens, medals, and obscure paper money. On the other hand, for standard items—say an 1856 Flying Eagle cent—of which others come on the market with regularity, I would recommend staying within proscribed limits. To answer directly, next time keep bidding to, say, 50% over your estimate and see what happens—for adhering to your estimate has not worked.