Obverse: the facade of the newly built MERCHANTS EXCHANGE.
Reverse: NEW YORK JOINT STOCK EXCHANGE COMPANY around a circle within which No.6 TONTINE BUILDING WALL ST
Handsome red with only the slightest notice of wear on the obverse pediment. Plain edge. Coin turn.
Interesting facts: A “tontine” was a bizarre legal device whereby survivors split an inheritance at some point specified, and those unfortunate enough to die earlier got nothing.
The Tontine Coffee House building, at the corner of Wall and Water Streets in New York City, was completed in1794. It and a large amount of surrounding land were owned by and association of 203 city merchants and other prosperous persons, who had subscribed at $200 per share. Thus the initial capital was $40,600.
The Tontine plan was to divide equally the sum of money when the original 203 holders had died off and were down to the final seven. Share purchasers often named their children, not themselves, as the share owners. Shareholders shared the income of the investment, which owned a good portion of what was then the 2nd Ward (bounded by Pine St., Nassau St., East River, and Gold and George Streets.).
The Tontine was also a hotel, and rented street shop space to certain merchants. The largest room in the Tontine housed the Merchants Exchange 1794-1825, but it soon outgrew its space, with bargaining being conducted in the bar. A supposedly fireproof Merchants Exchange building was erected 1827 on Wall Street, but it was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1835. So much for that.