The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 17, Number 1, January 5, 2014, Article 21


Paul Cunningham submitted these notes on a very rare horse car token. Thanks! -Editor

I read with great pleasure the article on horse car transportation tokens in The Numismatist last month. I am very familiar with transportation tokens and especially the horse cars.

Robert Rhue, the writer of the article, is a fine person, easy to deal with and sharp as a tack! But, as horse car tokens go, he “left something on the table.” There is a horse car token that he does not have and, unfortunately for him and the hobby, cannot have.

Some background: There exists a horse car token from Deerfield, Montana. The token is probably unique as a second has never been offered for sale anywhere, to my knowledge. It was described in the seventh edition of Atwood’s Catalogue of Transportation Tokens of the U.S. and Canada (and the Fourth Edition, Volume Two, History and Encyclopedia of the same) as being inscribed A. MYERS DEERFIELD, MONT. with a picture of a deer head on the obverse and a picture of a horse car on the reverse.

The early catalogers had A. Myers as the postmaster of Deerfield, MT, in 1887, and having a general store there. The catalogers further note that Myers was the only person having any business in that town. What about the town? Modern internet searches do not mention a Deerfield, MT, but only Deerfield Colony, a “colony” of the Hutterites and a school.

The old Deerfield had a post office from 1888 to 1919, which fits into the A. Myers time frame; it is assumed that Deerfield Colony is all of what is left of the old Deerfield, located some 120 miles east of Great Falls.

The transit enthusiasts have hung a “pattern” or “muling” explanation on the token. Some think that the Meyer and Wenthe Company in Chicago muled the reverse die, which is the same as IA590B, with an A. Myers storecard. This sounds like a real possibility except that in more than 100 years no collector has reported the existence of any A. Myers card, let alone any Deerfield trade token!

Some say that it is probably a pattern, meaning that sometime in the murky past Myers requested an example of a storecard from Meyer and Wenthe. This could make sense to Myers, if he thought that this little town might make a name for itself and need public transportation; however, the records show that this location became no more than a ghost town.

What about the token? In 1975 I bought a large collection from Norman Sherman, a well-known and well-heeled collector from Southern California. The collection had all the known-at-the-time horse car tokens, including the Deerfield piece. I put the horse car collection up for sale immediately, at a California token and medal show. It was priced at $4000 and for three days, it attracted no takers. It was then broken up.

A short time after that I sold the Deerfield token to distant relatives of A. Meyers. All that is left for me are memories of the collection and a picture! We can assume that the token will be off the market for a long period of time

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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