The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 12, March 19, 2006, Article 3


Per last week's request, George Fuld has submitted a wonderful
account of his visits to Scovill Manufacturing Company,
sometimes with his father Melvin:

He writes: "In the summer of 1957 (as I recall) we wrote to
Scovill in Waterbury, CT to see if they had any collections of
tokens or medals that they archived.  We received a nice reply
from E. H. Davis, the acting curator of the Scovill archives.
Davis was retired, serving as a volunteer on the collections.
I quickly learned that he was also an MIT graduate from the
class of 1900.  One can guess his age quite easily.  I made an
appointment to go to Waterbury during the summer from my house
in Wakefield, MA.

I spent two days there, staying at Davis’ home.  His wife had
recently passed away.  His home was a sight to behold.  He was
an avid book collector, and the house was full, to the rafters
with books and magazines.  Even in the bathroom there were books
stacked to the ceiling.

I visited the room where the collections were housed.  Perhaps
there were a 1000 pieces in all with some obvious minor holdings
that were not Scovill products.  There were no Hard Times pieces
as I recall, and only about three dozen Civil War cents.  Believe
me, there was nothing approaching any rumors of thousands of Hard
Times or Civil War cents.

They had about half a dozen encased postage stamps that were
obvious trials!  This was perhaps the most exciting find.  I
mentioned this to John Ford and a special trade was arranged.
Ford supplied me with twelve to fifteen different regular encased
postage issues and Davis was happy to trade the patterns for a
representative collection of the regular issue to complement
their collection.  These patterns were sold with the Ford encased
postage section of the Ford auction.

In regard to Civil War issues, they had a small representative
group of their issues.  The noteworthy thing is that had five or
six completely unlisted mules of patriotic dies.  Davis allowed us
to access these mules, which are listed in our Civil War patriotic
book, but I can recall several numbers they represent.   Two are
listed as patriotic combinations, Fuld 174/189 and 174/233.  Both
are nonsense combinations!  They are all still probably unique and
listed as R-10’s.  A lead hub die trial of the obverse of Fuld die
number 233 was acquired.  This was sold as lot 67 of Dorges Third
Mail auction on June 1, 1972 (Civil War Token Journal, vol 6, pages

There were many fully uncirculated Adams type merchant tokens.
Most of these are what we recall as restrikes in fully gilt brass
and copper.  There were no notable rarities among them with one
exception.  We obtained 15 or 20 pieces from this group.  The one
notable rarity which Davis allowed us to acquire was the John Low
token of Boston.   This was in white metal and was eventually traded
to John Ford where it remains in his collection.

In summary we did obtain some nice material from the archives, but
it was not a stupendous lot of material in total.  They had large
collections of dies, mostly button types.  We did obtain one die,
the Civil War die of Washington on horseback, patriotic die 174.
We retained it for some years, but for some reason we could never
locate it after some time.

We made two trips to Waterbury and I think my father accompanied
me on one.  Davis helped us write two articles that appeared in
the Numismatic Scrapbook.  One was and index of Adams’ store card
book and the other an index of patriotic tokens by type from
Hetrich and Guttag  (this was prior to our first patriotic book
published in 1959).

Davis lived for a few years into the early sixties and we had
minor correspondence with him.  After his death we had no idea
what happened to the Scovill archive collection since all medals
and token production ceased in the 1920’s.  We did know that the
dies that they had were sold as scrap medal.  What has happened
to the archive collection is unknown—we have no idea if they
were retained.  To my knowledge Scovill ceased operations in
the 1980’s."

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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