Julia Casey submitted these notes on the enigmatic "Sign of the 8" we've been discussing. Thanks! -Editor
Wilmington, Ohio Preston Civil War token and Wickersham ad
Regarding the “Sign of the 8” token - I researched the advertisement provided by James Higby and it should be noted that the Wickersham store was also located in Wilmington,
Ohio. The advertisements for the Robert and Robert M. Wickersham establishment start appearing in the Wilmington Clinton Republican in 1863.
I could not find an advertisement for William Preston at the “Sign of the 8” however the website Newspaperarchive.com has scanned the back issues of the Republican. I do
not have a subscription to this archive but they provide a rough transcription of the newspaper contents. The July 31, 1863 edition contains the following:
"The undersigned having purchased the large and well selected stock of FANCY AND STAPLE DRY GOODS, BOOTS AND SHOES, HATS AND CAPS formerly owned by William Preston would
respectfully inform the public that they will continue the business in all its various branches at the old stand on South Street. SIGN OF THE 8. Small Profits, Quick Returns, and
Cash Invariably is the motto at the Sign of the 8. R. M WICKERSHAM. Wilmington, Ohio, July 17th, 1863."
So this would help to date the Preston token to having been minted before July, 1863. I tried to locate this business on South Street in Wilmington, Ohio but was not able to
find a directory that covered the needed years. The use of “Sign of” to mark a business enterprise has been in place for many years before the Civil War era. For instance in his
new article in the December edition of the Journal of Early American Numismatics Gary Trudgen notes that Gerardus Duyckinck’s Universal Store was located at the “Sign of
the Looking Glass and Druggist Pot” in New York City. The “8” may have been a street number and/or the building likely had a large “8” sign in front that was distinctive and known
to all in the community.
Harold Levi writes from the North Georgia Mountains:
I noticed the Sign of the 8 in a previous issue, but did not say anything. I see it again in this issue. The Sign of the 8 was used in the Kevin Costner movie
The Postman as the sign or symbol for a renegade military group. Why was this used in the movie and where did someone get the idea? I never gave this any thought until this
Interesting - I'd never heard of that connection. Or seen the movie. I haven't found any online references, but maybe I haven't looked hard enough. Anyone?
To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
NUMISMATIC NUGGETS: DECEMBER 1, 2019 : "Sign Of The 8" Civil War Token
NOTES FROM E-SYLUM READERS: DECEMBER 8, 2019 : Query: The Sign of the 8
Wayne Homren, Editor
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