The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 24, Number 49, December 5, 2021, Article 16


Numismagram's Jeremy Bostwick passed along these highlights from the most recent addition of new material to his website at the beginning of the month. This upload is particularly strong in French and Swedish art medals, with a few seasonally-appropriate items sprinkled in as well. For all of his new medals and tokens, please visit -Editor

  French satirical tin medal

101821 | FRANCE. Revolution/Satirical tin Medal. Issued 1848 (38mm, 37.22 g, 12h). "monnaie des riches / 20 / FRANCS / matière / à / révolutions" (money of rich—20 francs—a cause for revolution) in six lines / "monnaie des gueux / 10ces / ou / 2 sols" (money of the beggars—10 centimes or 2 sols) in four lines; below, spear surrounded by bundle of rods and dividing date. Edge: Plain. Collignon 1054 bis; Paris Musées (Carnavalet), no. ND9109. Choice Mint State. Deep gray surfaces, with sharp, clear detail; great quality for this rare and interesting type. $395.

Part of the wave of revolutions across Europe in 1848, the 1848 French Revolution saw the end of the July Monarchy (1830-1848) and the creation of the short-lived Second French Republic (1848-1852). During this revolution, numerous medals were produced satirizing the various contemporaneous events. In the case of the present specimen, the vast inequality between the rich and poor is stressed, with there being some 200 10 centimes to constitute one 20 francs piece.

To read the complete lot description, see:
101821 | FRANCE. Revolution/Satirical tin Medal. (

  St. Nicholas medal

101610 | FRANCE. St. Nicholas/Christmastime bronze Medal Issued circa 1950. "St. Nicholas and the Three Small Children" (58mm, 92.81 g, 12h). By A. Mouroux at the Paris Mint. SAINT NICOLAS ET LES TROIS PETITS ENFANTS, St. Nicholas standing facing, cradling crozier and holding open book; three small children standing before him / Basket of toys: doll, plane, book, stuffed bear, ship, and parachute. Edge: «cornucopia» BRONZE. Choice Mint State. Deep brown surfaces, with some lighter highlights and a charming matte nature. An alluring yuletide-themed medal. $195.

Saint Nicholas of Myra was an early Christian bishop from the south-eastern coast of what is now Turkey in Asia Minor. Owing to the number of miracles ascribed to him during his lifetime, he became known as "Nicholas the Wonderworker." A much later legend associated to him revolved around the resuscitation of three small children who had been murdered and pickled by a butcher who planned to pass them off as pork during a famine. Later legends such as this, along with his overall piousness, led to allusions of secret gift-giving. As such, the modern tale of Santa Claus derived from this earlier figure of "Saint Nick," as presented on this medal.

To read the complete lot description, see:
101610 | FRANCE. St. Nicholas/Christmastime bronze Medal. (

St. Nicholas plaque 101583 | GERMANY. St. Nicholas/Christmastime cast iron uniface Plaque. Issued 1929 (88mm x 144mm, 237.50 g). By K. Roth for Lauchhammer. St. Nicholas, holding crozier, and small angel, holding Christmas tree over shoulder, standing facing one another among the clouds; stars above; below, bird's eye view of numerous factories / Blank, though a minor hanger is present near the top for suspension. Edge: Plain. Ehling 90. Essentially as made. Deep graphite gray surfaces, with lighter highlights. $185.

Despite the rather industrial and busy scenery presented in the lower portion of this art plaque, the more tranquil nature of the holiday comes through with the appearance of St. Nick as well as the Christmas tree ready to be decorated. Even more busy than the factories, however, would have been the turbulent nature of the times at which this plaque was made, as the post-WWI economic chaos in Germany was leading into the global fallout of the Great Depression, all while being just a few years from the rise of Nazism and then the outbreak of WWII.

To read the complete lot description, see:
101583 | GERMANY. St. Nicholas/Christmastime cast iron uniface Plaque. (

  Maude McGehee Hankins silver Love Token

101888 | UNITED STATES. Maude McGehee Hankins silver Love Token. Engraved on an uncertain date (1824-1897) and mint Mexican 8 Reales (39mm, 25.22 g). "MAR 22, 1875 / G. N. Murphey / TO / Maude S. McGehee / MAR 22, 1896" in five lines in a variety of block, Old English, and cursive scripts; decorations around; all within patterned border / REPUBLICA MEXICANA, eagle, with wings spread, head right, and serpent in beak and talons, standing in cactus over water. Edge: Reeded. Cf. KM 377 (for host coin). Engraving & host coin: Choice Very Fine. Toned. $395.

Oftentimes, a love token will contain mere initials, with just the giver and receiver understanding its true meaning and their place within it. In rare instances, however, enough information will be present whereby the piece can come to life, revealing such details as the actual individuals involved. The love token here in one such example, with enough data points triggering an undoubted attribution. Maude McGehee (named Sophia Maude McGehee, but generally going by her middle name "Maude" and her first name "Sophia" instead as a middle name) was born 22 March 1875 in western Kentucky. She studied at Potter's College in Bowling Green, where she would appear to have crossed paths with a G. N. Murphey, whose lesser-encountered surname spelling enables a more precise search. Indeed, a Murphey with those very initials was in Bowling Green in the 1890's, where she would have been studying as a young woman. Given that the date at the top of the memento is her birthdate, what of the duplication at the bottom some 21 years later? The answer seems obvious—a gift on her 21st birthday. While the meaning may have been even deeper, possibly a proposal, one cannot be certain.

What can be known, however, is that love tokens were generally created using dimes, so one such as this—on a Mexican 8 Reales, the equivalent of a silver dollar—was a sign of someone of means. Dr. Murphey certainly would appear one of means, as he had a sixth-page advertisement for his practice in the 2 February 1897 edition of the Hopkinsville Kentuckian newspaper. If this token were a symbol of romantic affection, it quickly dissipated, as Maude was married the following year to Cornelius Haley Hankins on 20 October 1897. Cornelius had a long career as an artist, painting agrarian southern landscapes as well as posthumous portraits of Confederate generals based upon images of them.

Maude paralleled Cornelius in the arts, becoming, according to the Tennessee Encyclopedia, "an artist who specialized in china painting, miniatures, and watercolors." In addition to this form of art, she wrote poetry and even published a children's book, Daddy Gander, very much in the Art Deco style of its year of publication in 1928. She passed away in Nashville in 1968, just a month shy of her 93rd birthday. Though the actual meaning of why this token was produced some 125 years ago, we can be sure of the individuals involved, giving a fantastic glimpse into the past and all that may be learned from just a few data points from which to search. A unique piece of Kentucky history with great ties to late 19th and early 20th century art in the American south.

To read the complete lot description, see:
101888 | UNITED STATES. Maude McGehee Hankins silver Love Token. (

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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