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(1829) Wolfe, Clark, and Spies token. Rulau E-NY-958B, Baker-588. Silvered Brass. AU-53 (NGC). Choice About Uncirculated.

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(1829) Wolfe, Clark, and Spies token. Rulau E-NY-958B, Baker-588. Silvered Brass. AU-53 (NGC). Choice About Uncirculated.

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Details

(1829) Wolfe, Clark, and Spies token. Rulau E-NY-958B, Baker-588. Silvered Brass. AU-53 (NGC). Choice About Uncirculated. An extraordinary specimen, one that is likely the finest known example of this variety. There were six examples of Baker-588 in the recent Ford XXIII sale, three of which were silvered. Graded raw, I assessed this as finer than the two specimens graded higher by NGC, both of which were called MS-61 but were not as lustrous, as attractive, or as thoroughly silvered as this piece. Among public offerings of this variety in the 20th century, nothing comes close. The best Baker-588 I can locate was in the famed Bowers and Merena sale of the Schenkel Collection, which included the token cabinet of Michael Brand Zeddies, sold as Lot 4190. Unsilvered and graded AU-50, it realized $1100. In the now-ancient 1998 Fuld-Rulau Baker book, this variety was valued at $1600 in EF (by way of comparison, I'd pay prices of between 10 and 100 times the published 1998 prices for many of the rarities listed). In the annotated 1965 Fuld edition of Baker, he termed this variety "V. Rare" and valued it at $37.50 in Fine but unpriced in EF. Neither Rulau nor Fuld knew of silvered specimens, just plain brass. Why? Because most or all of the ones they saw were so well worn that no silvering remained. Most Wolfe, Clark, and Spies tokens I've seen over the years have been well worn and/or holed. I doubt I've seen more than 10 total examples on the market in the last 25 years. The best one sold in the last decade (representing the much more "common" Baker-589) brought $805 at Heritage in 2007.

Needless to say, the Ford offering represents several generations of pent-up supply. Ford owned 21 different Wolfe, Clark, and Spies tokens of the general Washington/Jackson type, incorporating Baker numbers 588, 589, and 590. Most, perhaps all, came from the F.C.C. Boyd Collection. While portions of the Boyd Collection were spun off elsewhere: into the famous Schuster Collection, the Jack Collins Collection (memorialized in an impressive fixed price list called "Selections from the F.C.C. Boyd Collection" in 1991), and Ford II in 2004, none of these included Wolfe, Clark, and Spies tokens. Ford apparently liked them enough that he didn't let anyone else have one. It is doubtful that any of Ford's had been offered publicly in a century. Even with the offering of his mini-hoard, Baker-588 is probably STILL Rarity-7 or close to it. This example will be exceptionally hard to surpass in terms of condition, and I thoroughly doubt that a finer one exists anywhere. Both obverse and reverse are fully silvered (really tinning) and lustrous, with beautiful peripheral toning of deep autumnal shades. Some softness at centers is more related to strike than wear, and this piece probably saw no actual circulation. The rims are perfect, the fields unmarked, and only the most minor evidence of handling is seen. A very thin and shallow surface fissure is noted across Jackson's nose, past his epaulet, to the rim near 5:00.

Wolfe, Clark, and Spies sold, among other things, cutlery and military goods from their shop at 193 Pearl Street in the heart of lower Manhattan. A few blocks away, at Pearl and Dover, was Washington's home when he was inaugurated our first President. It appears likely that the Washington bust on the Wolfe, Clark and Spies tokens represents the first use of Washington's portrait on any token. It is no wonder this rarity has long been appreciated as one of the foundational inclusions in any advanced collection of Washingtoniana. Ranked #112 among the 100 Greatest American Tokens and Medals, this would have been likely ranked higher were it common enough for more of the voters to have ever seen one! From the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection.

Additional Information

Grading Service NGC
Grade AU53
Designation N/A
Mint Location N/A
Strike Type N/A
Circulated/Uncirc N/A
Grade Add On No
SKU or Cert # 2601638017

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

Description

Details

(1829) Wolfe, Clark, and Spies token. Rulau E-NY-958B, Baker-588. Silvered Brass. AU-53 (NGC). Choice About Uncirculated. An extraordinary specimen, one that is likely the finest known example of this variety. There were six examples of Baker-588 in the recent Ford XXIII sale, three of which were silvered. Graded raw, I assessed this as finer than the two specimens graded higher by NGC, both of which were called MS-61 but were not as lustrous, as attractive, or as thoroughly silvered as this piece. Among public offerings of this variety in the 20th century, nothing comes close. The best Baker-588 I can locate was in the famed Bowers and Merena sale of the Schenkel Collection, which included the token cabinet of Michael Brand Zeddies, sold as Lot 4190. Unsilvered and graded AU-50, it realized $1100. In the now-ancient 1998 Fuld-Rulau Baker book, this variety was valued at $1600 in EF (by way of comparison, I'd pay prices of between 10 and 100 times the published 1998 prices for many of the rarities listed). In the annotated 1965 Fuld edition of Baker, he termed this variety "V. Rare" and valued it at $37.50 in Fine but unpriced in EF. Neither Rulau nor Fuld knew of silvered specimens, just plain brass. Why? Because most or all of the ones they saw were so well worn that no silvering remained. Most Wolfe, Clark, and Spies tokens I've seen over the years have been well worn and/or holed. I doubt I've seen more than 10 total examples on the market in the last 25 years. The best one sold in the last decade (representing the much more "common" Baker-589) brought $805 at Heritage in 2007.

Needless to say, the Ford offering represents several generations of pent-up supply. Ford owned 21 different Wolfe, Clark, and Spies tokens of the general Washington/Jackson type, incorporating Baker numbers 588, 589, and 590. Most, perhaps all, came from the F.C.C. Boyd Collection. While portions of the Boyd Collection were spun off elsewhere: into the famous Schuster Collection, the Jack Collins Collection (memorialized in an impressive fixed price list called "Selections from the F.C.C. Boyd Collection" in 1991), and Ford II in 2004, none of these included Wolfe, Clark, and Spies tokens. Ford apparently liked them enough that he didn't let anyone else have one. It is doubtful that any of Ford's had been offered publicly in a century. Even with the offering of his mini-hoard, Baker-588 is probably STILL Rarity-7 or close to it. This example will be exceptionally hard to surpass in terms of condition, and I thoroughly doubt that a finer one exists anywhere. Both obverse and reverse are fully silvered (really tinning) and lustrous, with beautiful peripheral toning of deep autumnal shades. Some softness at centers is more related to strike than wear, and this piece probably saw no actual circulation. The rims are perfect, the fields unmarked, and only the most minor evidence of handling is seen. A very thin and shallow surface fissure is noted across Jackson's nose, past his epaulet, to the rim near 5:00.

Wolfe, Clark, and Spies sold, among other things, cutlery and military goods from their shop at 193 Pearl Street in the heart of lower Manhattan. A few blocks away, at Pearl and Dover, was Washington's home when he was inaugurated our first President. It appears likely that the Washington bust on the Wolfe, Clark and Spies tokens represents the first use of Washington's portrait on any token. It is no wonder this rarity has long been appreciated as one of the foundational inclusions in any advanced collection of Washingtoniana. Ranked #112 among the 100 Greatest American Tokens and Medals, this would have been likely ranked higher were it common enough for more of the voters to have ever seen one! From the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection.

Additional

Additional Information

Grading Service NGC
Grade AU53
Designation N/A
Mint Location N/A
Strike Type N/A
Circulated/Uncirc N/A
Grade Add On No
SKU or Cert # 2601638017

Related Blog Article(s)

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

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