Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.


Morning Star, April 17, 2011, pg. 20

As we all know, April marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. Yours truly has written many articles about that subject in this column through the years. They are reprinted on the www.albionmich.com website. Perhaps you have also seen my 2-panel display containing the photographs of many of Albion’s Civil War veterans.

During the Civil War there was a shortage of small change in circulation due to hoarding and speculation of precious metals. Local merchants would issue their own "cents" bearing an advertisement of their firm on one side, and a patriotic image with the date "1863" on the other.

Here in Albion there were two Civil War-era merchants that issued such tokens. One was the Comstock Brothers Druggists in existence here from 1863 to 1867. They were located at 200 S. Superior St. in a wooden building that was known as the Hannahs’ Block. The Comstock Brothers consisted of Dr. Isaac (1834-1905), Charles (1840-1930), and Addison Comstock, Jr. (1849-19??). Their father, Addison Comstock, Sr., was the founder of Adrian, and Addison, Michigan is named after him. The brothers attended the Albion Seminary here during their youth. Isaac served on the Albion Village Council in from 1864 to 1867. Brother Charles served as Albion Village Treasurer in 1865.

The Civil War token issued by the Comstock Brothers is bronze, and is the size of a cent. It was manufactured by the Childs Die Sinkers minters in Chicago. The token contains the head of Liberty with the date of "1863" on the obverse, surrounded by 13 stars. Another version has an eagle in the center. The reverse contains the text, "COMSTOCK & BRO. DRUGGISTS, ALBION, MICH. In the center is depicted a pharmacist’s mortar and pestle emblem.

The Civil War token issued by the Comstock Brothers


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