ARCHIVE

A Classic Canadian Rarity: The 1821 Lauzon Ferry Token

No one pays more!

For high quality Washington medals. If you have rare or top condition Washington-
iana for sale or trade, contact us!

A Classic Canadian Rarity: The 1821 Lauzon Ferry Token

SOLD

Details

Canada. 1821 Lauzon Ferry token. Tin, 27.1 mm. Breton-560. Fine. No countermarks. A signal rarity in the Canadian pre-Confederation token series. None was included in the recently sold George H. Thomson collection (Geoffrey Bell Auctions, May 2014). The superb John Ford example brought $12,925 USD last summer. I catalogued that piece, noting:

"most surviving specimens are in low grades, typically well worn or showing substantial tin pest. In the introduction to the 1888 Gerald Hart sale, the Lauzon Ferry token was accorded prime billing with the Owen Ropery token as 'the best known rarities.' Hart’s Lauzon Ferry token was graded just 'fair.' Scott’s 1894 Paris Collection sale included a specimen called 'good, dark, ex. rare' with the note 'the specimens of this token which have come into our hands, with rare exceptions, have proved to be casts. The bona-fide pieces we believe to be in very few cabinets.' On the issue of the casts, R.W. McLachlan wrote in the April 1892 issue of The Canadian Antiquarian and Numismatic Journal that 'the Lauzon or Quebec ferry token was for many years so scarce that good specimens have sold readily as high as twenty five dollars. Lately many specimens have come to light and the price has dropped to two or three dollars. One collector has no less than five. This sudden increase in the supply has been noted by numismatists who are ready to affirm that a number of counterfeits have been passed off on the unwary. ... The suspected coins have a cast appearance and seem to have been made from an alloy of bismuth.' Henry Chapman’s 1920 W.H. Hunter sale offered two Lauzons, one uncountermarked and one with J.McK, both graded just 'good.' The Wilson I sale (November 1925) included a Lauzon described as 'very fine and very rare,' in addition to a J.McK counterstamped one graded 'good.' The Reford specimen (Sotheby’s Canada, 1968) was termed 'corroded, but good and rare,' and the John Hall specimen (Sotheby’s Canada May 1970) was 'slightly bent and damaged, pierced at base, but very good condition for this piece.' The McKay-Clements collection included two countermarked Lauzon tokens (the J.McK, graded Fine, actually pretty nice for one of these), but there was not an uncountermarked specimen."

Regarding the casts, the ones I have seen (at auction bringing thousands of dollars, unfortunately) have a very fuzzy appearance and, though appearing worn, show almost no marks. These appear to be the ones McLachlan complained of. This example is the same diameter as the Ford specimen to a fraction of a millimeter (casts are, as a rule, smaller, courtesy of the contraction of cooling metal) and is unhesitatingly warrantied as genuine for as long as our planet survives. The surfaces are light glossy silver-gray, with some suggestions of lustre trapped in deep intricacies of the design. The fields are regularly scattered with contact marks, as would be expected of a circulated piece in this composition. The rim shows a nick above L of LAUZON and is a little chewed up above PO of POUR, where some old scratches are also seen. Though certainly not perfect, this piece boasts excellent visual appeal and certainly ranks in the top quarter or so of Lauzon tokens I've encountered in print or in hand. 

Denominated in both French and English denominations (huit or 8 sols, or four pence), this token was to be used on the sidewheel steamer depicted on the obverse to pay one passenger's way across the river at Quebec City. Use was highly localized and mintages were small. I would be greatly surprised if as many as 25 Lauzon tokens (real ones) survive today. It may be half that number. This is a new addition to the census, cherrypicked by a resourceful numismatist from a junkbox for $2. I paid him much more.

Additional Information

Grading Service RAW
Grade RAW
Designation N/A
Mint Location N/A
Strike Type N/A
Circulated/Uncirc Not Specified
Grade Add On N/A
SKU or Cert # 17008

Listed below are blog articles related to this product listing, if applicable:

Description

Details

Canada. 1821 Lauzon Ferry token. Tin, 27.1 mm. Breton-560. Fine. No countermarks. A signal rarity in the Canadian pre-Confederation token series. None was included in the recently sold George H. Thomson collection (Geoffrey Bell Auctions, May 2014). The superb John Ford example brought $12,925 USD last summer. I catalogued that piece, noting:

"most surviving specimens are in low grades, typically well worn or showing substantial tin pest. In the introduction to the 1888 Gerald Hart sale, the Lauzon Ferry token was accorded prime billing with the Owen Ropery token as 'the best known rarities.' Hart’s Lauzon Ferry token was graded just 'fair.' Scott’s 1894 Paris Collection sale included a specimen called 'good, dark, ex. rare' with the note 'the specimens of this token which have come into our hands, with rare exceptions, have proved to be casts. The bona-fide pieces we believe to be in very few cabinets.' On the issue of the casts, R.W. McLachlan wrote in the April 1892 issue of The Canadian Antiquarian and Numismatic Journal that 'the Lauzon or Quebec ferry token was for many years so scarce that good specimens have sold readily as high as twenty five dollars. Lately many specimens have come to light and the price has dropped to two or three dollars. One collector has no less than five. This sudden increase in the supply has been noted by numismatists who are ready to affirm that a number of counterfeits have been passed off on the unwary. ... The suspected coins have a cast appearance and seem to have been made from an alloy of bismuth.' Henry Chapman’s 1920 W.H. Hunter sale offered two Lauzons, one uncountermarked and one with J.McK, both graded just 'good.' The Wilson I sale (November 1925) included a Lauzon described as 'very fine and very rare,' in addition to a J.McK counterstamped one graded 'good.' The Reford specimen (Sotheby’s Canada, 1968) was termed 'corroded, but good and rare,' and the John Hall specimen (Sotheby’s Canada May 1970) was 'slightly bent and damaged, pierced at base, but very good condition for this piece.' The McKay-Clements collection included two countermarked Lauzon tokens (the J.McK, graded Fine, actually pretty nice for one of these), but there was not an uncountermarked specimen."

Regarding the casts, the ones I have seen (at auction bringing thousands of dollars, unfortunately) have a very fuzzy appearance and, though appearing worn, show almost no marks. These appear to be the ones McLachlan complained of. This example is the same diameter as the Ford specimen to a fraction of a millimeter (casts are, as a rule, smaller, courtesy of the contraction of cooling metal) and is unhesitatingly warrantied as genuine for as long as our planet survives. The surfaces are light glossy silver-gray, with some suggestions of lustre trapped in deep intricacies of the design. The fields are regularly scattered with contact marks, as would be expected of a circulated piece in this composition. The rim shows a nick above L of LAUZON and is a little chewed up above PO of POUR, where some old scratches are also seen. Though certainly not perfect, this piece boasts excellent visual appeal and certainly ranks in the top quarter or so of Lauzon tokens I've encountered in print or in hand. 

Denominated in both French and English denominations (huit or 8 sols, or four pence), this token was to be used on the sidewheel steamer depicted on the obverse to pay one passenger's way across the river at Quebec City. Use was highly localized and mintages were small. I would be greatly surprised if as many as 25 Lauzon tokens (real ones) survive today. It may be half that number. This is a new addition to the census, cherrypicked by a resourceful numismatist from a junkbox for $2. I paid him much more.

Additional

Additional Information

Grading Service RAW
Grade RAW
Designation N/A
Mint Location N/A
Strike Type N/A
Circulated/Uncirc Not Specified
Grade Add On N/A
SKU or Cert # 17008

Related Blog Article(s)

Listed below are blog articles related to this product listing, if applicable:

Post your comment

John Kraljevich Americana