This appears to be an early Colon token due to the incuse
lettering and blank reverse. The similar A. GROSSO COLON Y CHAGRE may date from
1852 or 1853. That piece has no denomination. WING TAI LONG & CO.,
DOMINGO VEGA and LUM CHANG LONG & CO. have the "5" above "CENT VALE" like
this token, but without the beaded circle near the edge. JOSE MONTEVERDE has
the beaded edge but also uses the cent sign. If these tokens were all by the
same manufacturer using increasingly sophisticated designs, then this token may
date from after the WING TAI LONG group but before JOSE MONTEVERDE.
Other incuse tokens such as J. DEL C. MEJIA, J. DE LA PENA & CO. and ANTONIO ZUBIETA
have a simple reverse design without beads or cent sign. There is also a two-sided
example of a A. GROSSO COLON Y CHAGRE. So the manufacturer apparently was able
to make double-sided tokens early on. They probably charged more for double-sided
tokens, and merchants decided whether or not they wanted to pay the extra charges.
These incuse tokens are mostly from Colon and nearby towns. If the manufacturer
of these tokens was based in early Colon, they may have been wiped out by the
Great Fire of 1885, the financial crisis following the collapse of the French
Canal Company in 1889 or they may have simply closed down when the owner died,
moved or retired.