The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 15, Number 43, October 14, 2012, Article 13


Last week Dick Hanscom asked, "A Fairbanks, Alaska token has popped up on eBay. It is unlike any other Alaska token. Does anyone know of a similar token with the Liberty Head design from another state?" -Editor

Butter Nut Bakery obverse Butter Nut Bakery reverse

Alan V. Weinberg writes:

I immediately recognized the Rappolt's Bakery token from Fairbanks Alaska when I spotted it on its first day listing on eBay. There is a very similar Helena Bar Helena Montana token 12 1/2c token using the same Liberty Head hub and similar reverse denomination design. Both tokens were made by ER Williamson Minneapolis MN diesinkers, the Helena token being actually signed in tiny letters. I also recall another identical Liberty Head used on another token but cannot immediately bring it to mind. The Fairbanks AK bakery token, notwithstanding some questions about its legitimacy raised due to its unusual design , sold on eBay for $2183. today 10/11. I was the immediate underbidder.

That's the great thing about tokens. There's always a new design right around the corner - unique new tokens are discovered almost on a daily basis. Most people don't realize that Russ Rulau's telephone book-size reference on US tokens lists far less than 1 percent of all known old American tokens - so a hyped so-called "Rulau-unlisted" token means very little. You don't have that with coins where a newly discovered US coin surfaces perhaps once a decade or more.

1912 bakery ad Gar Travis writes:

The bakery was on Second Avenue according to a March 29th, 1912 page 4 advertisement in the Fairbanks Daily Times.

To read the ad online, see:

David Gladfelter writes:

It appears on the advertising tokens of E. R. Williamson, a die sinker of Minneapolis. Ronald J. Benice lists Henry Rappolt’s bakery and restaurant as being in business in Fairbanks from 1907 to 1916, and thereafter in Nenana. Only one Rappolt token from Fairbanks is listed by Benice (different from the one that Dick Hanscom shows) and none from Nenana, so the eBay token should bring a strong price.

I have notes on Williamson from Dick Grinolds: "Probably the earliest Minneapolis die sinker; I’m positive that they did all the early 2½ aluminum tokens that are the basic Minneapolis trade tokens from the 1890-1910 period; they also did work for merchants from other states as I have a PA token and a MT token signed by Williamson (both pictorials); they also probably most of the early pictorials from Minneapolis" Williamson is not listed in Rulau’s Standard Catalog of United States Tokens, 1700-1900.

John Mutch writes:

The Liberty Head design from Alaska looks to me to be a slight rework of some Minnesota and wisconsin tokens as pictured on Richard Greever's site, - the last one pictured below is from my collection (sorry for the rough condition), but it is from the maker, the E. R. Williamson Co. of Minneapolis. I haven't tried to do PhotoShop overlays of the various pieces to prove my theory, but a cursory look says the Liberty Heads are similar. Richard's site is proving to be invaluable in token research!

MINT SAMPLE ROOM token obverse MINT SAMPLE ROOM token reverse
MINT SAMPLE ROOM / H. NOLL, La Crosse, Wisconsin

MARTIN OPPEGARD token obverse MARTIN OPPEGARD token reverse
MARTIN OPPEGARD, Aitkin, Minnesota

M. RING token obverse M. RING token reverse
M. RING, Banning, Minnesota

E.R. WILLIAMSON token obverse E.R. WILLIAMSON token reverse
E.R. WILLIAMSON, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Dick Hanscom writes:

Thanks very much. The E-Sylum comes thru again! I also heard directly from Jerry Adams. Looks like I have an article for the newsletter, perhaps the first for 2013 – the 35th year!

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: QUERY: HAS ANYONE SEEN THIS LIBERTY HEAD DESIGN? (

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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