The E-Sylum:  Volume 6, Number 43, October 26, 2003, Article 4


  Dick Johnson writes: "I am going to break my own rule and
  send to the E-Sylum the exact text I have on Osborne from my
  upcoming directory of  'American Artists, Diesinkers, Engravers,
  Medalists and Sculptors' in which I list Producers in addition
  to individuals:

  Osborne Coinage Company, manufacturer, Cincinnati, Ohio.
  Founded 1920 by Wiley W. Osborne as Osborne Register
  Company. That same year the firm had purchased the Murdock
  Stamp and Speciality Company -- headed by James Murdock Jr.
  (q.v.) -- which, in turn, traced its roots to John Stanton (q.v.)
  the area's first diesinker. While the exact date may be nebulous,
  Osborne uses 1835 as the firm's founding date. In 1944  W.W.
  Osborne sold the firm to Dayton Acme Company, which later
  named it Osborne Coinage Company."

  When I was in business as Johnson & Jensen, my partner,
  Chris, and I visited Osborne. (Ostensibly we wanted to see if
  they could strike a die we owned. Unfortunately while Chris
  was getting the car, I placed the box containing the die on the
  curb at the hotel we were staying, I got in the car and we drove
  off. I didn't realize I didn't have the die until we were inside
  Osborne's offices. Chris, goodfellow he was, drove back to
  the hotel to retrieve the die.)

  What we observed was that Osborne had a lot of specialized
  machinery.  They are well known for striking transit tokens.
  They were, in fact, the leading producer of these because of a
  Progressive Die invented and patented by their Vice President,
  Clifford F. Stegman Sr. (The Stegman family has long been
  associated with the firm and there are, I believe, still Stegmans
  in the firm.)

  A Progressive Die is an ingenious coining invention. It performs
  three functions with each cycle of the press.  A blank strip is
  fed into the press. At the first station the image is struck (both
  obverse and reverse) while still on the strip.  At the second
  station it is pierced (to create the unique holes as on transit
  tokens).  At the third station it is blanked, the circular token
  is cut out of the strip.  All with one cycle of the press!  The
  advancing of the strip is critical, as each of the three stations
  must be in register.

  With this single invention, the firm produced millions of such
  transit tokens.

  While their website touts '165 years of continuous coin, token
  and medallion manufacturing' the "coin" here means any product
  struck on a coining press.  Remember the coining press is a
  metalworking machine and striking actual coins (U.S. or foreign
  for circulation) is but a small part of "coining."  Such presses
  also strike cog wheels, washers, or any flat small part that
  requires precise specifications required in large numbers with
  or without design.

  Also the use of the word "medallion" here is misleading.  To
  numismatists, a medallion is a large medal, larger than 3-inches
  in America, 80mm in Europe. To the public medallion sounds
  better than medal.  So everything is a medallion.  We are more
  precise in numismatics.

  From the equipment I observed at Osborne I doubt if they
  could strike a 3-inch item or larger. (I may be wrong, or they
  may have acquired newer equipment in the 20 years since my

  In addition to transit tokens, Osborne is also well known to
  collectors for casino and amusement tokens,  Mardi Gras
  doubloons, sports items and 'promotional' coins [i.e. tokens or
  medals], including such items as sobriety coins given to
  members of Alcoholics Anonymous on the anniversary of the
  day they stopped drinking.

  Osborne Mint, Osborne Coinage, Osborne Register, is a fine
  old firm with a heritage deep in midwest history. Collectors
  should be aware of their many products created for more than
  150 years. We only wished they would have marked every
  item they struck for the high quality die work and striking they
  have achieved. They deserve their fine reputation."

  Dick forwarded the following note by Dave Blumenfeld of the
  Osborne  company.  He writes: "I wish I could find the time to
  write a new history on Osborne. So much has changed over
  the past 10 years, but there isn't' anything in print. Cliff Stegman
  passed away some years ago, and the business has been
  owned and operated by his brother Tom and nephews Jeffrey
  and Todd.  We have become less involved in transit tokens -
  most transit authorities have transitioned to magnetic fare cards.
  Between '95 and '00 we became the market leader in casino
  tokens, selling tokens with the X-Mark anticounterfeiting
  optical codes on them. We have over 150,000,000 X-Mark
  slot tokens running around casinos here and abroad. We've
  become international, with sales in Latin, central and south
  America, Europe, even Russia. Current initiatives include old
  favorites like advertising specialties and video tokens, along
  with some Mardi gras doubloons like in the old days.

  We now strike medallions as large as 2", and have coining
  presses that run 700 strokes per minute.  It's very exciting to
  see them run.

 You might find some interesting info on our web site:"

  [David asked to be added to the E-Sylum mailing list, and
  he is our newest subscriber.]

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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