Anne E. Bentley, Curator of Art & Artifacts at the
Massachusetts Historical Society writes:
We received the following enquiry about a neat little item-perhaps one of our readers can help identify this piece?
Her correspondent wrote:
I am seeking background information on the dime-sized, silver
Massachusetts medallion pictured in the attached image files.
I have shown the item to a number of experienced Massachusetts coin
dealers. None have previously encountered or heard of the item.
Given the elements of the design, there is little doubt about the
nature of the item, but historical background about the precise purpose
is elusive ("reminder" of affiliation, secret pass token, ???).
The medal was found in Eastern Maine several years ago. Given the
aborted Fenian attack on New Brunswick which was staged in the
Lubeck-Calais area in 1866, its being found in Washington County, Maine
is not surprising.
Any insight which you or your staff might be able to offer would be most
In 1863 a D.R. Pruden of West Meriden CT with colleague C.A. Wellington of Boston, applied for U.S. Patent 32,850 “Improvement in ornamenting Hollow articles in Metal.” In 1871 a D.R. Pruden was listed in Boston as Stencil Cutter.
I have no idea if these are the same D.R. or even connected to the medal pictured.
Interesting item. I've never seen anything like this before. Can anyone help?
There is a Fenian Brotherhood medal illustrated on the Smithsonian web site, but it's not the same item. Aaron Packard also has a page on his web site about this other 1866 Fenian Brotherhood token.
To view the Smithsonian Fenian Brotherhood Medal, see:
Fenian Brotherhood Medal
To read the complete article, see:
The Fenian Brotherhood Token of 1866
Wayne Homren, Editor
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