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BackgroundLazarus Goldheim, a Jewish peddler from Baltimore, became L. Goldheim, a Cavalry sutler in Virginia, with the advent of Civil War - and thus an integral if unglamorous part of one of the Union's celebrated fighting units, the 1st (West) Virginia Cavalry. This token, stamped "L. Goldheim - 1st Virginia Cavalry" bears witness to that marvelous transformation.
Sutler tokens in the Civil War solved a three-fold problem, effecting in equal measure, both sides. Because soldiers were paid in the field; because they were paid in gold and silver coins in denominations as large as possible; there was, as a direct result, a terrific shortage of small change. A soldier might then, on payday, exchange part of his private's rank $7.00-a-month salary for sutler tokens in the small amounts necessary to purchase the 5, 10, 25 and 50 cent items he was mostly likely to want. Thus regiments had, essentially, their own coinage, and a soldier might easily spend his money piecemeal, as he pleased.
1st (West) Virginia Cavalry War Sutler token. L. Goldheim / 25 Cents/ 1st Virginia Cavlary. Reverse: Federal-style eagle, wings spread, arrows and olive branch in talons, 13 stars around. Brass. 18mm. Not more than, and possibly less than, ten exist.
Curto 93. Schenkman A25B. R8 .