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NEW BOOK: CIVIL WAR STORE CARDS OF CINCINNATI BY JOHN OSTENDORF
Donald Erlenkotter submitted this discussion of John Ostendorf's new book on Civil War Store Cards of Cincinnati. -EditorOstendorf, John, Civil War Store Cards of Cincinnati, The Civil War Token Society, 2007, pp. 384 [available from Lulu.com for $35 in hardcover and $25.53 in soft cover, and from the Society in hardcover for $35 postpaid to members]
During the Civil War, Cincinnati was a major center for the production of store card tokens issued by merchants ranging from New York to Kansas and Minnesota to Alabama. Many of the issuers of tokens produced by Cincinnati die sinkers were rather arbitrarily assigned to that city in catalogs for lack of better information. This has been a long-standing source of confusion to collectors. In his new book, John Ostendorf seeks to identify which of more than 200 issuers previously assigned to Cincinnati actually belong to that city, and which belong elsewhere. He also adds some tokens to the Civil War period, and deletes some others.
This book provides a wealth of information on the tokens, their issuers, and the die sinkers and engravers who produced them. City directories are a major source of information, along with census listings, local histories, newspapers, and previously published research. Many ads from the Civil War period are reproduced in the book, and they provide the reader with the true spirit of the times.
One won’t find beautiful pictures of tokens here, since individual tokens are covered well in the second edition of U.S. Civil War Store Cards by George and Melvin Fuld. The only token illustrations included, in full color, are on the front and back covers. They display store cards from the two major Cincinnati token producers, William K. Lanphear and John Stanton. These two men also are the only members of the Civil War Token Society’s Hall of Fame who actually produced tokens.
One might well describe this book as a collection of some 200 mystery stories. Many have been solved, while others remain as a challenge for future researchers. Ostendorf has provided a model for them to follow in doing further studies of this type.
Disclosure: I chaired the Civil War Token Society committee that oversaw the production of this book, and made some contributions to it as described in the acknowledgements by the author. He will receive the Jack Detwiler Research Award from the Society this summer for his work on the book.
To view selected pages of the book or order a copy, see: http://www.lulu.com/content/1372848
Wayne Homren, Editor
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