Part of Dave Stone and Mark Borckardt's detective work on the Jules Fonrobert collection involved the 1792 pattern disme from the 1875 Cogan sale of the Mendes I. Cohen collection. The disme was lot #378.
Rick Stroman writes:
Here's Rick's scan of the page. Click on the image to see a larger version on our Flickr image archive.
A message from Dave Bowers…
Mark your calendar!
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Selections from the
Steve Tanenbaum Collection
1867-1876 Shell Cards
Among the rarest, most interesting, and most significant specialties within 19th century American numismatics are shell cards. These are metal encasements somewhat like encased postage stamps in concept. Most are in the range of 34 to 39 cm, or the size of American double eagles and Liberty Seated dollars. In fact, many of these have these coin motifs. Others have a circular mirror on one side—intended to have the recipient keep the shell card is it remained useful. Otherwise, trade tokens and related exonumia were apt to be discarded.
The other side has the advertisement of a merchant, service, or product. Some of these are in embossed brass, as in the manner of encased postage stamps, while others are printed circular thin cardboard discs, usually in color.
These were a passion for the late Steve Tanenbaum, and he spent over 40 years collecting them—in the process forming the largest such collection ever. Part 2 will be offered in a forthcoming Stack’s Bowers Galleries sale, probably in connection with our official auction for the Whitman Coins & Collectibles Expo in Baltimore in June. As a reality check, the largest other collection known to me is that of the American Numismatic Society and comprises about 100 pieces. A “great collection” of shell cards would be doing well to have as many as 50!
The collection is NOW on line at the
Stack’s Bowers Galleries
website. Bids are being accepted now and will be until the closing on Monday, January 29. The shell cards are lots 14,000 to 14,104. No comparable offering has taken place in the past century!
As there is no reference book at all on this subject (imagine that!), I am in the process of creating one. It will be color-illustrated, on fine paper, and will have all of the information I can find. I am not ready to announce a publication date (in that way I can’t possibly be late!), but it is about 80% done. A visit to the American Numismatic Society is in the offing so I can capture information on any varieties unknown to me. When the book is ready I or the publisher will make advance announcements. Likely, the press run will be limited.
I invite you to visit the
Stack’s Bowers Galleries
website, read the introductory material I prepared—about the history and other aspects—contemplate the listings, and bid for any that are of interest.
In the meantime, my best wishes to you