Token: US Traders & Merchants
It sounds like you are into the world of exonumia, Jada. What you probably have is a token issued by a private company, the James Lewis Company in Laporte, IN. This happened often during the Civil War era. Government money was scarce, so merchants made their own.
I am not familiar with your particular token, however, the picture shows an 1863 trade token issued by an Albany, New York fruit dealer located on 427 Broadway. Tokens like these are fascinating to collect, and they are generally desirable for a certain subculture of coin collectors. If you go on eBay and search for trade tokens, you will find thousands of individual entries. Auction bids range from a few US dollars to well over $100, with most toward the lower end of that range. As always, the older, better preserved specimens bring higher prices.
Other places to look at tokens are Exonumia.com and TokenCatalog.com.
Sometimes you can learn a lot about your token by poking around the web. Jada asked about James Lewis and Company in LaPorte, IN. Go to Google, type:
token James Lewis LaPorte
and then click the Google 'image' control. If you are lucky, you will find your specific token. This is what I found about Jada's token:
JULIUS BARNKS BEE HIVE This well known house was established in 1855 by James Lewis who was succeeded in 1857 by James Lewis and Company and by the present proprietor in 1865 He has kept the Bee Hive ever since always having a large stock of dry goods and fancy goods at the lowest prices
See, I told you it is a fascinating area of coin collecting!
, Genre: Tokens
Requested by: Jada, Tue, 23-Jun-2009 15:00:14 GMT
Answered by: Chris, Sat, 04-May-2013 13:13:12 GMT
Reviewed by CoinQuest. Appraisal ok., Wed, 11-Mar-2015 23:25:32 GMT
Requester description: 1861 Woman looking to the left with Childs Maner Chicago surrounding her. On the back, the picture looks to be a beehive of sorts on a table on water maybe? It also says Jas Lewis and Co Laporte Ind.
Tags: token us usa traders trader merchants merchant tokens toke woman childs child chicago beehive sorts sort table water jas lewis co laporte ind empress lsdy femal women lady female feminine womans girls females womens ladys princess girl ladies children hive behive etind exind private