Jeff Shevlin the "So-Called Guy" writes:
I would like to make the following reply to the message from Dick Johnson regarding the definition of So-Called Dollars.
I have a web site where collectors interested in So-Called Dollars participate in an active discussion board on topics related to So-Called Dollars. Collectors are helping to define the definition of just what is a So-Called Dollar and there are many opinions posted on his site by advanced collectors who are passionate on this series of historical US Medals.
The site was started just one year ago and currently averages over 7,000 unique hits each month. There are hundreds of photos of So-Called Dollars and the results of his last three Sealed Bid Auctions are available to view on-line. The site is
Interest in So-Called Dollars has increased phenomenally in the past year and his web site is probably one of the most active in the hobby today.
Dave Bowers submitted the following note, which references a forthcoming new book on the So-Called Dollar series.
Regarding so-called dollars, certainly the ultimate in the series, or close contenders, are the silver dollar size and obverse design embossed shell cards of 1867, 1868, and 1869. These use obverses stamped from dies, to which a metal reverse or a cardboard reverse is attached. They were produced during a time when silver dollars were not seen in circulation in the East or Midwest. Many of them were imprinted to be worth something if brought into a store. While most so-called dollars are really medals, this are about as close to a real dollar as you can get without actually being one!
Harry Lessin, John Ford, Steve Tanenbaum and others wanted to get a book out on these, as did the Token and Medal Society. Although TAMS has had articles, most notably a series started in 1961 by Ralph Mitchell and Russell Rulau, no one has ever had enough of these together to study them, except the late Steve Tanenbaum, who set about in 1977 forming a definitive holding. He eventually acquired what he wanted from the great collections, including Ralph Mitchell, Ray Byrne, John J. Ford, Jr. (with David Proskey and F.C.C. Boyd collections), and more.
That said, I am using Steve Tanenbaumâ€™s work as the basis for a book, which is well underway. More information will be found in forthcoming issues of the TAMS Journal, Fred Reed editor. Any E-Sylum readers with information to share will be welcomedâ€"just contact me at email@example.com
Jeff Shevlin adds:
The late Steve Tanenbaum was always going to provide me a copy of an auction catalog he had from the latter 1800â€™s that had a section in the back dedicated to So-Called Dollars, historical US medals approximately the size of a silver dollar.
Can anyone tell us which catalog that might be?
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
QUERY: WHY IS THE DOLLAR CALLED A DOLLAR?
Wayne Homren, Editor
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