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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 37, September 10, 2006, Article 8

COGAN SALE BEAVER CLUB MEDAL PROVENANCE SOUGHT

Darryl Atchison writes: "I wonder if one of our readers could tell
me whose Beaver Club medal was sold in the Edward Cogan sale of
June 29-30, 1876.  My email address is atchisondf@hotmail.  Thanks.

Here is a little bit of background history: The Beaver Club was a
gentlemens' club specifically for fur traders.  It was established
in 1785 (primarily for members of the North West Company) but other
fur traders were allowed to join - assuming that their nomination
was unanimously accepted by the current members.

Prior to the amalgamation of 1821, it is extremely unlikely that
any fur trader from the Hudson's Bay Company would have been accepted
for membership... although it is believed that Lord Selkirk had
attended at least one meeting as a guest in 1803... and George Simpson
was accepted for membership in 1827 after the two rival firms merged.

The Beaver Club jewels are not unlike other fraternal jewels in that
they were primarily used as a means of identification and recognition.
Members were required to have their gold medal manufactured according
to fairly tight but not overly-constrictive specifications.  As such,
each medal (engraved with the name of the member) is slightly different
and the quality of the engraving varies greatly from barely decent to
exquisite in the case of the aforementioned George Simpson jewel.

At present less than 20 of these medals are accounted for... and
given that there were approximately 100 members admitted during the
Society's lifetime (1785 - 1827), many, many medals remain to be
discovered.  The names on the membership roster include some of the
most significant names in Canada's history from the period in question.

Much of this information comes from the publication by Larry Gingras
entitled "The Beaver Club Jewels" which was published by the Canadian
Numismatic Research Society in 1972.

It should be pointed out that these medals are exceedingly rare and
less than a handful are in private collections.  Of the pieces which
are accounted for most are in institutional collections while a few
remain - as per Gingras' text - in the hands of relations.

According to my notes (which are not the gospel) I am aware of only
six auction appearances in the last 135 years. In chronological
sequence these are as follows:

1)  Edward Cogan sale of April 3 - 5, 1871 included the Archibald
McLellan specimen

2)  Edward Cogan sale of June 29 - 30, 1876 included a specimen
whose provinance is to be confirmed with this request for information

3)  Samuel Hudson Chapman sale of Dec. 9 - 11, 1920 included the
William McGillivray specimen

4)  Wayte Raymond sale of Nov. 16 - 18, 1925 included the Henry
MacKenzie specimen (anonymously purchased by Robert W. Reford Jr.
which resurfaced in a Jacobys House of Antiques sale in 1971).  The
big mystery remains as to why this piece was not included in the
Sotheby and Co. (Canada) sale of Reford's collection in Oct. 1968.

5)  Spink sale of March 6 - 7, 1986 included the David David specimen

6)  Jeffery Hoare sale of June 22 - 23, 1990 included the
David David specimen

Finally, Jeffrey Hoare sale of June 25 - 26, 1999 included several
electrotypes of Beaver Club jewels from the Larry Gingras collection."

[I found the following web references to Beaver Club Medals

George Simpson's Beaver Club Medal Full Story

Peter Pond's Beaver Club Medal Full Story

The administration of the North West Company Full Story

-Editor]

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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