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W.H. Schoonmaker: A Classic American Token Rarity

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W.H. Schoonmaker: A Classic American Token Rarity

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Ex. John J. Ford Jr.

Details

(1829-31) W.H. Schoonmaker token. New York, NY. Miller-785, Rulau E-NY-785. Rarity-7. Brass. VF-30 (NGC). Reeded edge. One of the all-time rarities among the early storecards of New York City, a token trumpeted by Benjamin Wright in 1901 and singled out for bringing an amazing $4 at the Levick sale of 1884. In Woodward's May 1863 sale, one was described as "of the utmost rarity" and brought $2.25, a lot of money for a tiny brass token in the middle of the Civil War. The Gilbert Steinberg sale of 1989 included a specimen of this variety in similar quality that brought $715 a quarter century ago. This piece, underappreciated in the John Ford hoard sale, boasts beautiful and original deep golden brassy surfaces, still showing some verdigris and schmutz from a century or more of benign neglect. Ford's highly detailed flip reveals it was acquired from the F.C.C. Boyd Estate on March 26, 1958 and describes its "faintest signs of original silvering" deep within the legends. The scratches visible in the image are on the NGC slab, and the token itself is pristine, though circulated. Rightly described by Rulau as Rarity-7, a real rarity among the dozens (hundreds?) of relatively common tokens described in his work as R-7 or better.

Struck in England by Thomas Kettle, this Schoonmaker card uses an unlikely obverse, intended for a coronation medalet of George IV. The same die makes an appearance on a very rare variety in the Wolfe, Clark, and Spies token series, which was likewise struck by Kettle. Any Schoonmaker token is rare, but this die variety is undoubtedly the most visually interesting.

William H. Schoonmaker sold "guns, pistols, rifles, cutlery, and japanry," a term for any kind of fancy lacquered article, at 181 Broadway in lower Manhattan. Schoonmaker specialized in military articles, branding himself "The Military Store" in an 1831 newspaper advertisement that read "TO NAVY OFFICERS. The officers of the Navy are respectfully informed, that a handsome assortment of the new pattern Navy Cut and Thrust Sabres have just been received in store, per ship Napoleon, and also the newly adopted pattern of Navy Buttons, of very superior Gilt, expressly for sea service; for sale at the Military Store. No. 181 Broadway, where also may be had real Gold Epaulettes, &c."

When examples of this (or any) Schoonmaker token variety turn up, they are apt to be worn, damaged, or unattractive. This is an exceptional specimen, fit for a world-class cabinet of early American storecards.

Additional Information

Grading Service NGC
Grade VF30
Designation N/A
Mint Location N/A
Strike Type N/A
Circulated/Uncirc Circulated
Grade Add On N/A
SKU or Cert # 2600429015

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

Description

Details

(1829-31) W.H. Schoonmaker token. New York, NY. Miller-785, Rulau E-NY-785. Rarity-7. Brass. VF-30 (NGC). Reeded edge. One of the all-time rarities among the early storecards of New York City, a token trumpeted by Benjamin Wright in 1901 and singled out for bringing an amazing $4 at the Levick sale of 1884. In Woodward's May 1863 sale, one was described as "of the utmost rarity" and brought $2.25, a lot of money for a tiny brass token in the middle of the Civil War. The Gilbert Steinberg sale of 1989 included a specimen of this variety in similar quality that brought $715 a quarter century ago. This piece, underappreciated in the John Ford hoard sale, boasts beautiful and original deep golden brassy surfaces, still showing some verdigris and schmutz from a century or more of benign neglect. Ford's highly detailed flip reveals it was acquired from the F.C.C. Boyd Estate on March 26, 1958 and describes its "faintest signs of original silvering" deep within the legends. The scratches visible in the image are on the NGC slab, and the token itself is pristine, though circulated. Rightly described by Rulau as Rarity-7, a real rarity among the dozens (hundreds?) of relatively common tokens described in his work as R-7 or better.

Struck in England by Thomas Kettle, this Schoonmaker card uses an unlikely obverse, intended for a coronation medalet of George IV. The same die makes an appearance on a very rare variety in the Wolfe, Clark, and Spies token series, which was likewise struck by Kettle. Any Schoonmaker token is rare, but this die variety is undoubtedly the most visually interesting.

William H. Schoonmaker sold "guns, pistols, rifles, cutlery, and japanry," a term for any kind of fancy lacquered article, at 181 Broadway in lower Manhattan. Schoonmaker specialized in military articles, branding himself "The Military Store" in an 1831 newspaper advertisement that read "TO NAVY OFFICERS. The officers of the Navy are respectfully informed, that a handsome assortment of the new pattern Navy Cut and Thrust Sabres have just been received in store, per ship Napoleon, and also the newly adopted pattern of Navy Buttons, of very superior Gilt, expressly for sea service; for sale at the Military Store. No. 181 Broadway, where also may be had real Gold Epaulettes, &c."

When examples of this (or any) Schoonmaker token variety turn up, they are apt to be worn, damaged, or unattractive. This is an exceptional specimen, fit for a world-class cabinet of early American storecards.

Additional

Additional Information

Grading Service NGC
Grade VF30
Designation N/A
Mint Location N/A
Strike Type N/A
Circulated/Uncirc Circulated
Grade Add On N/A
SKU or Cert # 2600429015

Related Blog Article(s)

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

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