A Mystery

Unknown token 5 Cent obverse

Obverse of an unknown, brass 5 Cent token.

This token was given to me by a friend a few years ago. It was purchased in Namibia at an antique store about two years ago. The obverse shows a monogram, probably either “N W Co” or “W N Co”. The reverse shows only the denomination.

The diameter is 21.5mm and the thickness is 1.8mm. It weighs 4.5g and is made of brass.

The fact that the token came to me from Namibia does not necessarily mean that it is Namibian or even African. Something about the hatching and texture of the design elements, combined with the diagonal slash through the “c” on the reverse reminds me of some American tokens of the early 20th century. Those, however, are very slim pickings to go on indeed! No amount of Googling has turned up even a remote match and none of the experts I have consulted online have recognised this piece.

Unknown token 5 Cent reverse

Reverse of an unknown, brass 5 Cent token.

The identification of such things is made a lot more difficult by the fact that a very large number of companies have minted their own tokens in the last 100 years, and many of them were short-lived as business entities. This may have been produced by any number of small, obscure outfits that were unknown beyond their local communities.

Therefore, I am offering a reward: one silver coin of my choosing for the first person to provide me with a verifiable identification of this token. The exact coin will depend on what I have available at the time and how far I need to ship it. However, I will warrant that the condition will be at least VF and the silver content at least .500. It will probably be South African but I’m negotiable and will probably offer you a choice.

Most of all, though, you will have my sincere gratitude for helping me resolve this mystery.