• Johann Marr - Civil War Token Engraver - Milwaukee, WI

        Johann "John" Marr
        , a native of Germany, emigrated to the United States in 1850. For 5 years he worked as an engraver at the colt gun factory in Hartford, Connecticut. In 1856, Marr moved to to Milwaukee. There, Marr teamed up with Danish Engraver Peter Louis Mossin, and the two created the engraving firm Mossin & Marr.

        Under their partnership, the firm of Mossin & Marr were responsible for a multitude of Wisconsin Civil War tokens.

        The work of Marr was second to none. Born in 1831, as a young and destitute boy in Germany, Marr was forced to live with a jeweler and engraver. In exchange for room and board, Marr cared for the jeweler's property. Over time, the jeweler became Marr's mentor, and taught him his trade over a period of 5 years.

        Mossin & Marr's business was located at 86 Wisconsin Street. On March 20th 1860 a large fire swept through several blocks of Milwaukee, decimating buildings and businesses, including the shop of Mossin & Marr. Fortunately, the firm recovered, and remained in business through the Civil War until 1865.

        Some of the tokens produced by Mossin & Marr include:
        WI55C-1a - Beaver Dam, Wisconsin - O.M. Warren
        WI510C - Milwaukee, Wisconsin - Phillip Best Lager Beer
        WI510I - Milwaukee, Wisconsin - D.J. Doornink
        WI510AB - Milwaukee, Wisconsin - Friedrich Miller
        WI510AG - Milwaukee, Wisconsin - J. Pritzlaff & Co
        WI700F-1a - Racine, Wisconsin - Erhardt & Raps
        Representative of their talent and beautiful work, they struck a store card token that advertised their business. The unique and beautiful reverse was engraved by Marr, whose name appears at 7 o'clock. The token features a partially nude Amazon woman. In her left hand she holds a flag of the United States, with a Liberty Cap affixed to the top of the flag pole. In her right hand she holds the Union Shield.

        Cataloged by the Fuld brothers as CWT WI-510AD-1a, the token uses reverse die number 1220, and is classified as an R-4:

        Another store card token, WI510X-2a Louis Kurz - Pictorial Lithographer, R-6, also uses Marr's reverse 1220 die, as pictured below:

        Civil War tokens were made illegal after Congress passed a law in April 1864 which prohibited the issuance of one or two-cent coins, tokens, or devices for use as currency. In June of the same year, Congress passed an additional law that forbade private coinages altogether. Shortly thereafter, in 1865, the partnership dissolved, and Marr pursued his commercial engraving activities alone for another decade.

        In 1876 Marr went into business with wood-engraver George L. Richards. The pair specialized in engraving illustrations for use in books and newspapers. Much of Marr's engravings entailed landscape and city-scape drawings.

        Besides being an engraver, Marr was also a competent sculptor. In the early 1900's, Marr produced a sculpture of Mark Twain. Marr's drawing of his sculpture was published nationwide, in many prominent newspapers.

        Marr's son Carl von Marr, became a famous American painter. Marr himself lived until 1921.

        - Cheetah


        My Life - An Autobiography by John Marr (Translation from German into English), 1998.
        John Marr, Museum of Wisconsin Art
        Pioneer History of Milwaukee: 1854-1860, James Smith Buck, 1886
        Milwaukee's Great Industries, William J. Anderson, 1892

        This article was originally published in blog: Johann Marr - Civil War Token Engraver - Milwaukee, WI started by CheetahCats