An article by Paul Gilkes published in Coin World January 20, 2016 describes an interesting purchase by E-Sylum contributor Bill Burd - a long-forgotten cache of material from the legendary Virgil Brand estate. Bill kindly provided images of the Winfield Scott token, which was not pictured by Coin World. Thanks!
A hoard of more than 1,300 tokens and medals from the estate of numismatist Virgil M. Brand that were originally destined for the melting pot as part of a divorce settlement has been acquired by the Chicago Coin Company.
The tokens and medals, some of which are unlisted in numismatic references, are considered to be the final vestiges of the numismatic holdings of the Chicago beer baron and prominent numismatist, who died in 1926. The tokens and medals have been stored away in the same wooden crates in which they were put into storage more than 80 years ago, according to Chicago Coin Company President William Burd.
Burd purchased in the fall of 2015 a wooden crate containing 1,230 medals and tokens and two crates containing 125 rectangular bronze USS Nashville medals still in their individual felt-lined boxes. The USS Nashville medals and their storage boxes suffered damage from their long-term storage in a moisture-laden environment, Burd said.
The 1,230 crated medals and tokens were laid out on multiple layers of tissue paper and then stacked inside one of the three crates.
Burd said he is in the process of individually cataloging each piece before deciding how to market the exonumic items to collectors.
Among the items so far identified, Burd lists these:
A 25-piece paper-wrapped roll of 50-millimeter aluminum tokens commemorating the building of the Masonic Fraternity Temple in Chicago in 1892. Written on the roll, presumably in Brand’s own handwriting, is ledger number 30801, an indication Brand purchased them in October 1905 among items totaling $84.63.
Rare shell card. Unlisted in Q. David Bowers’ reference The Token and Medal Society Guide to U.S. Shell Cards 1867-1880. The obverse design resembles that for an 1867 Seated Liberty silver half dollar, with the reverse featuring an orange insert on which is printed R.B. WHITZELL, / JOBBER AND DEALER / IN / BOOTS & SHOES, / NO. 165 / S. HIGH STREET, / COLUMBUS, OHIO.
Circa 1750 Frederick, Prince of Wales, struck medal, issued in gilt copper.
Sharply struck April 23, 1661, silver coronation medal of Charles II. Burd said the medal is one of only a few silver medals in the hoard.
Rare Winfield Scott 1852 presidential campaign medal in copper, 33 millimeters.
Bill Burd adds:
I see there is one on eBay right now, listed as one of two known. Now there's three.
Jefferson Guard medal in white metal, 40 millimeters. The medal is inscribed around on the obverse COMPANY F. JEFFERSON GUARD ★ CAPT. F. HEPPENHEIMER ★. Inscribed within an inner circle is 25TH REGIMENT ★ AUG. 11, 1859 ★. A bullseye is in the center of the obverse. A wreath is on the reverse of the unsigned medal.
Brand’s massive estate, including his numismatic holdings, were inherited by his brothers Horace and Armon upon his death in 1926.
At the time, Virgil Brand’s numismatic collection was estimated at a staggering $5 million.
The brothers spent years sorting and inventorying and attempting to split the collection equally, according to Burd.
Q. David Bowers, in his book Virgil Brand: The Man and His Era, writes that by 1934 everything in Brand’s estate was finally appraised except 16 boxes of Masonic Chapter pennies, 12 boxes of Civil War tokens, two boxes of Hard Times tokens and some items worthy only for melting.
"It seems the three crates purchased by Chicago Coin fell into the ‘melting’ category and were simply put aside for over 80 years,” Burd said. “Except for a few silver pieces, all of the medals and tokens are of base medals — white metal, copper, copper nickel, brass and aluminum."
"Being able to pedigree these items to Virgil Brand and have them return to Chicago was wonderful," Burd stated. "And now being able to supply this new material to the numismatic community is very exciting and satisfying."
What an amazing find! A great time capsule for collectors. You just never know what's still out there somewhere waiting to be discovered (or rediscovered) for numismatists.
To read the complete article, see:
Chicago Coin Company acquires hoard of Virgil M. Brand pedigreed tokens and medals
Wayne Homren, Editor
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