“People made their own money. They made it, wrote it, stamped it, or cut it out as the case might be. They made it in whatever quantity suited the need or the impulse of the movement, out of whatever medium they found most convenient, and emblazoned it with whatever device, portrait or motto they fancied. They passed it on to whoever would take it and then made some more. Not only did the United States have a private coinage, it had dozens, at one point hundreds, of private coinages simultaneously. […]
[Samuel Higley] lowered the ‘price’ or denomination of his coppers. In fact, he abandoned it altogether, and struck coins labelled only, ‘Value me as you please / I am good copper.’ Then, presumably, Higley and the Connecticut publican struck a bargain for ‘good copper,’ and all imbibed happily ever after. […]
A particularly popular gambit was to incorporate ‘not one cent’ somewhere in the design to avoid the possibility of running afoul of the counterfeiting laws, and at the same time (by putting the ‘not’ in very small letters) indicate the denomination.”
William C. Wooldridge.