• Additional Tokens Attributable to Dr. Lewis Feuchtwanger

        An Analysis

        Most collectors of Hard Times Tokens and Store Cards are aware of the one cent pieces made by Dr. Lewis Feuchtwanger. Other more experienced collectors may be aware of the three cent pieces made by the same.

        What is not readily known is that Dr. Feuchtwanger also produced tokens of other denominations. In the following, we will examine two of these specimens, and diagnostically connect these tokens with Feuchtwanger.

        R.E. Russell Store Card

        Knowledgeable collectors of Hard Time Tokens may be aware of the R.E. Russell 12½ cent token. Yet very little has been written about the connection between Feuchtwanger and this token. A clue about such connection may be inferred by the following advertisement¹, posted in the June 14th, 1837 edition of the New York City Evening Chronicle:

        In Bowers’ More Adventures with Rare Coins, he infers a connection between this advertisement and the possibility of Feuchtwanger producing 5-cent or 12½-cent pieces. However, further exploration by Bowers as to the viability of either denomination is not presented. If one does the math, one will quickly find that the production of 500 pieces at $25 equates to exactly 5-cents per token; Hardly a profitable investment for the storekeeper! However, at a face value of 12½-cents, production of such tokens would indeed be profitable, both for Feuchtwanger and the storekeeper.

        Russell Rulau, in his tokens catalog², reports one token that was produced circa 1837 that meets such specifications. It is the following:

        Upon further analysis, if one makes a side-by-side diagnostic comparison to Feuchtwanger’s one-cent token, notably the Obverse-6 die, one sees that they are one and the same. The only difference between the two obverses is the size of the specimens – the 12½ cent token is 19.5 mm in diameter, while the one-cent token is 18.5 mm.

        In contrast to what Rulau
        reports in his tokens catalog², Robert Lindesmith theorizes that the 6-I variety may be a Civil War issue, as the 6-I variety was not cataloged by Bushnell in 1858 or Cogan in 1859. This opens up the real possibility that the R.E. Russell token is a Civil War token rather than a Hard Times token.

        Regardless, it is obvious that the 12½ cent token was indeed a product of Feuchtwanger.

        Philadelphia Corporation

        Few have made the connection that Dr. Lewis Feuchtwanger patterned a One Shilling and a 50 cent token as well. No mention of it is made in Bowers’ More Adventures with Rare Coins. The following discusses diagnostics attributing Feuchtwanger to these rare specimens.

        In the May 22nd 1837 edition of New York City’s Evening Chronicle, Feuchtwanger posted the following classified notice³, which serves as a tantalizing hint to the possibility of additional denominations of Feuchtwanger tokens*.

        Interestingly, Russell Rulau in his tokens catalog³, reports one token that was produced circa 1835-1836 that meet such specifications, and a second which shares the same obverse. They are the following:

        Of the two specimens, only two are known to exist for HT-412 (R-8), and several more for HT-413 (R-7).

        While examining the reverse of the One Shilling token, one does not immediately nor readily make a connection with Feuchtwanger. The only potential clue to the connection is that the token is made from German Silver and there is a crude eagle depicted on the obverse of the specimen. It isn’t until one examines the obverses of both tokens that one notices that they share the same obverse, and share the same diameter of 26mm.

        In examining the reverse of the 50 cent token, one immediately notices the design similarities of the wreath, with opposing berries before each flower. Of this specimen, there exist 23 berries. Like the one cent varieties, the reverse also shares a similar wreath-bow configuration, with terminating wreath stems and ribbons. It is the reverse of this token, in conjunction with the both sharing the same obverses, that one makes the connection.

        Due to the scarcity of these specimens, it can be inferred and conjectured that both were pattern pieces created at the on behalf of the City of Philadelphia (or an agent thereof, or in anticipation thereof), as the “Philadelphia Corporation” is one and the same. Given the possibility that these are indeed pattern or trial pieces, one must then explore the possible meanings of the letters “F.S.” inscribed on the reverse of each. While examining various historical catalogs and auction texts, an interesting find was discovered.

        In the Catalogue of the Celebrated Collection of United States and Foreign Coins of the Late Matthew Adams Stickney, ESQ⁴, pursuant to the auctioning of the decedent's coin cabinet, there exist the following excerpts, made by one Henry Chapman, a prominent numismatist and cataloger at the turn of the 20th century:

        Further examination of the manuscript revealed the following entry and lot on page 153:

        Therefore, it can be logically inferred that the letters “F.S.” inscribed on the reverse may quite stand for “Feuchtwanger Silver.” And finally, it is obvious that both tokens were the product of Feuchtwanger.

        *In light of the above May 22nd 1837 advertisement, it is questionable whether these tokens were indeed produced at those times, or in actuality late-spring or summer of 1837.

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        ¹ Source: Library of Congress, Evening Chronicle, New York, NY, June 14th 1837
        Source: Standard Catalog of United States Tokens, pgs.150-151, Russell Rulau, Krause Publications, ©1999
        Source: Library of Congress, Evening Chronicle, New York, NY, May 22nd 1837
        Source: Catalogue of the Celebrated Collection of United States and Foreign Coins of the Late Matthew Adams Stickney, ESQ, Henry Chapman, Davis & Harvey Auctioneers, ©1907