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The E-Sylum: Volume 25, Number 7, February 13, 2022, Article 11

PENNY DRESSES AND TANGUAY PENNIES

Wayne Pearson writes:

"I liked the dress of 2000 cents. Pretty cool."

Agreed. But in the nothing-new-under-the-sun department, Julia Casey reports that the penny dress has been tried at least once before - in 1910! Very, very cool - thanks! -Editor

The recent article about the "Dress Made From Pennies" reminded me of Eva Tanguay. Tanguay is a favorite of Dave Bowers and I spent some time with him researching her for his blog. Dave wrote of Eva:

Eva Tanguay coin dress "She earned a footnote in the annals of numismatics in 1910 when she appeared on stage in a coat entirely covered with the relatively new coins. Audiences went wild when she threw handfuls of coins from the stage. One account stated that 10,000 coins were ordered by her from the Philadelphia Mint and were first tossed in Altoona, Pennsylvania, in 1910. Newspapers picked up the story, leading a man in Chicago to advertise Tanguay pennies for five cents each in groups of five or more."

A description of Eva's personal items located in the collection of the Wistariahurst Museum (Holyoke, Massachusetts) includes an image of her in her coin-garment.

Here's an excerpt from Dave's 2020 article. The outfit weighed 65 pounds! -Editor

  1910LincolnCentObv 1910LincolnCentRev

Eva Tanguay Perhaps the most famous distributor (if that is the right word) of Lincoln pennies was Eva Tanguay, the most famous vaudeville star of the day. Born in Canada in 1878, she moved with her family to Holyoke, Massachusetts, when she was six years old. On stage at Parsons Hall in an amateur night show when she was eight, Eva appeared in character as a young girl, but in the unusual garb of wearing several knit chair throws and fabric from an old umbrella. From the outset, she was different and unusual. Two years later she toured professionally with a troupe showcasing scenes from a popular novel, Little Lord Fauntleroy. In 1901 she was on stage in the Broadway musical My Lady, followed in 1904 by The Chaperons in the same venue. By 1905 she was in a solo vaudeville act that drew wide attention. One success led to another, and by 1910 she was earning as much as $3,500 per week (equivalent to close to $100,000 today).

She earned a footnote in the annals of numismatics in 1910 when she appeared on stage in a coat entirely covered with the relatively new coins. Audiences went wild when she threw handfuls of coins from the stage. One account stated that 10,000 coins were ordered by her from the Philadelphia Mint and were first tossed in Altoona, Pennsylvania, in 1910. Newspapers picked up the story, leading a man in Chicago to advertise Tanguay pennies for five cents each in groups of five or more.

To read the complete article, see:
Bowers on collecting: Lincoln pennies galore! (https://mintnewsblog.com/bowers-on-collecting-lincoln-pennies-galore/)

For more on the Tanguay archive, see:
Holyoke Collection: Eva Tanguay, 1878 - 1947 (https://wistariahurst.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Eva-Tanguay-Collection.pdf)

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
THE DRESS MADE FROM PENNIES (https://www.coinbooks.org/v25/esylum_v25n06a30.html)

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Wayne Homren, Editor

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