Original silver Indian Peace medals, rare merchant counterstamps, copper slave tags and certain Civil War tokens realized the highest prices in a 2,844-lot exonumia mail-bid sale by Rich Hartzog.
Star of the massive sale was a hollow silver Jefferson Indian Peace medal, 55 millimeters in width and weighing 39.56 grams, issued in 1801, which realized $54,075.
Pictured at right is the medal that fetched more than $54,000 in the auction.
This specimen, recently excavated, had not been offered before, and is one of only four known with pillar and ring for wear, the other three being in museum holdings.
Oval, solid silver Peace medals of James A. Garfield 1881, Chester A. Arthur 1881, Grover Cleveland 1885 and Benjamin Harrison 1889 weighing from 194 to 196 grams each, all in choice extremely fine condition, fetched respectively $6,200, $6,500, $6,510 and $6,510.
Hartzog sales do not add a buyer?s fee.
A round silver John Adams medal, dated 1797 but struck after 1846, 51mm, 69 grams, toned very fine/EF, brought $2,500. Designed by Moritz Furst, it was not made in President Adams? lifetime for presentation to Indians.
Only three Charleston copper slave tags were on offer, each guaranteed genuine with National Conservation Services photographic certificates, but they realized high prices despite varying ?dug? conditions. An 1838 Servant tag, graded fine with corners clipped, yielded $2,490. An 1848 Servant badge, fine with light pitting and clipped corners, fetched $3,245.79. An 1855 Porter tag, fine with light verdigris but sharp corners, was hammered down at $2,545.
The ever popular 1838 ?Am I Not a Woman and a Sister? cent, cataloged as HT 81, about VF, exceeded estimate at $161.
The third and final portion of the Gregory Brunk counterstamped coin collection occupied 390 lots. The unique Stone & Ball counterstamp on an EF 1854 gold $2.50 piece realized $4,387.20 in active, to-the-wire bidding. A bold J. B. Schiller counterstamp on an 1860 Indian cent, struck 1862 while New Orleans was under Union siege, brought $2,521.80.
The unique O. Bennett/A. Henshaw gunsmith counterstamp on a silver 1789-Mo-FM two-reales, HT B218, fetched $2,250. A F/VF 1799 over 8 Heraldic Eagle silver dollar counterstamp WAGNER, the only piece known, realized $2,750. (This Rarity 5 host coin in VF catalogs at $2,300 without counterstamp.)
Hartzog reported an interesting anecdote from the sale. Two lots were bought by persons whose surnames matched those on the counterstamps; these were not necessarily dedicated collectors. A person named Shattuck bought a Shattuck Cigars counterstamp on an 1854-arrows quarter for $515 and a person named Tozer purchased a J.F. Tozer counterstamp on an 1836 Bust half dollar for $551.10.
A 1794 Talbot Allum & Lee cent counterstamp F.E. STICKEL and a horseshoe realized $720. Stickel was a Hyde Park, N.Y., blacksmith.
A script MDQ monogram (for Moneda de Quito) on a silver 1820 Colombian 8 reales, Ecuador?s earliest coin in 1831, fetched $575.
Several Civil War tokens set record prices. A unique Wisconsin store card of Emigranten, the ?only Norwegian newspaper in America,? in gem proof copper-nickel from Madison, was bid in at $2,215. An unlisted H.D.B. over 5 counterstamp on an 1858 Flying Eagle cent, raising it to five cents, realized $351.40. An unlisted Breckenridge/Presidents House 1860 muling of Cincinnati, brass, uncirculated, made $1,675. Another unlisted 1860 muling, John Bell/Wealth of the South, brass, about uncirculated condition, fetched $1,560.
Hartzog summed up: ?Lots of different bidders, with nobody dominating the field. The non-U.S. counterstamps generally went home to serious bidders in other lands ? many non-U.S. bidders and mostly successful. Only four percent of the lots were unsold.?
My only comment on the Hartzog sale is that many reference catalogs will have to be revised in the token and medal field.
Interested persons may contact Rich Hartzog at P.O. Box 4143CRV, Rockford, Ill. 61110, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 120-page, color-cover sale catalog features almost 2,800 lots with detailed descriptions of every item and is available for $5 postpaid, or $10 with the prices realized. Interested collectors may also view the catalog online at www.exonumia.com. Color images of all lots are available on the Web. Collectors can e-mail Hartzog with their ?want list? and he will create custom lists of all related items in future sales, at no charge.