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World's Columbian Exposition 1892-93

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The World's Columbian Exposition commemorated the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America. Expositions had a profound impact on the country as well as European nations. Ethnographic "villages" introduced the public to other cultures and other ways of life long before television brought the world into your home. The debates as to whether the impacts promoted understanding or racism will never be resolved. Many of the "displays" went on to become side-shows that travelled the country. The exposition was important from my collecting perspective by the rich array of aluminum medals and tokens produced as souvenirs. Many of these are cataloged as so-called dollars.

 

My favorite is the topic of the first entry in this thread.

 

1892 Aluminum

Liberty Head Dollar / Landing of Columbus

Hibler & Kappen 222

36mm Proof (with original card box of issue)

 

909404.jpg

 

I'm following H&K in showing the Liberty Head as the obverse in a ring of stars with 1892 below. The medal's engraver, Adolph Weyl of Germany, described the Liberty head as the reverse. The initials, W.M. appear on the base of the bust. Compare the portrait to George Morgan's Liberty on the silver dollar. I assume WM is for Wilhem Mayer, the German company that produced the medal.

 

The reverse shows the landing of Columbus with 1492 below and the legend, DEDICATED TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE IN HONOR OF THE 400TH ANNIVERSARY OF AMERICAN / UNITED WE STAND DIVIDED WE FALL.

 

The medal is proof and came with the original card box of issue. Hibler and Kappen indicate that it is very scarce (251 - 500), but I've seen 4 or 5 other nice proof examples on Ebay in the past year. One graded by NCG for a registry set was listed at $1,900, but most seem to run in the $150 to $300 range. The medal was first shown at the Italo-American Exposition in Genoa, Italy.

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1893 Aluminum

Ada Rehan So-Called Dollar

Hibler & Kappen 767

44.5 mm, AU

 

914994.jpg

 

The obverse depicts Ada Rehan left, with the inscription ADA REHAN 1893. Incused, below the bust is COPYRIGHT 1893 BY R.H. PARK. Ada Rehan (1860 - 1916) was born Ada Crehan in Limerick, Ireland. She debuted on the American stage in Philadephia at age 14. A program spelling error led to her satge name, Rehan. She became popular in New York and London for her Shakespearan roles.

 

The reverse shows a statute of justice standing on a globe on an eagle with the inscription, THE SILVER STATUE OF JUSTICE / OF THE STATE OF MONTANA.

 

Hibler and Kappen list the medal in their American Personalities section and propose it was issued to commemorate an appearance in Montana. The medal should probably be listed among the World's Columbian medals. Richard Henry Park, sculptor, chose Ada Rehan as the model for a silver and gold sculpture commissioned for the Montana exhibit at the Exposition. The statue announced Montana as a major player in gold and silver mining.

 

The statue illustrated by C Graham for Scenes from the 1893 World's Fair The Columbian Exposition (see http://washingtonmo.com/1893/index2.htm).

 

Montana.jpg

 

A description of the exhibit in the Book of the Fair:

 

But the centre of attraction is Montana’s beautiful pavilion, at the entrance of which stands a case of specimens from the Elkhorn district, is the statue of Justice, fashioned of native silver, and with orthodox scales and sword. In this statue, placed under a canopy of maroon velvet, in the centre of the pavilion, and guarded by two bronze lions, was used nearly a ton of sterling silver, the figure resting on a silver globe, beneath which is an eagle with outstretched wings. The lower portion of the pedestal is of ebony, and upon this is a plinth of pure gold, more than two feet square, and representing, as is said, a value of $250,000. The model selected for this, the largest silver statue in the world, was the actress Ada Rehan, whose stately and opulent form is cast in heroic mold. Behind the statue is a structure fashioned of copper bars; on the walls the more prominent mining centres are reproduced in photographs, and at the back a painting, named A Good Strike, represents the scene which its title indicates.

 

And a photograph from the Library of Congress:

 

3b43761r.jpg

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1893 Aluminum

Michigan Forestry Exhibit So-Called Dollar

Hibler & Kappen 214

38 mm Unc

 

915042.jpg

 

The obverse depicts a log cabin from a Michigan logging camp (an example of an ethnographic exhibit mentioned in an earlier post). Legends above the cabin read, WORLD’S FAIR, below CHILDS CHICAGO / 1893. The surrounding ring reads, MICHIGAN FORESTRY EXHIBIT / LOGGING CAMP. Childs, Chicago indicates the company producing the medal.

 

The reverse shows a load of logs on a horse-drawn sled with the legends above CHAMPION LOAD OF LOGS. Below 36055 FEETWEIGHT 144 TONS / DRAWN BY EST. OF / THOMAS NESTOR. Thomas Nestor established a mill in Pequaming in 1879, adding another nearby. His firm grew to include a shipping fleet on Lake Superior. The World's Fair Load of Logs, 36,055 feet, was hauled by Thomas Nester's crew to Ontonogan River, Michigan on February 26, 1893. They exhibited the load in Chicago at the World's Fair as the largest load of logs ever hauled in the world and hauled by one team. Height of load 33 feet 3 inches, weight of logs 144 tons. Sled teams routinely competed for such drinking honors at the end of the day.

 

An early book (digital version at Library of Congress, American Memory), Between the iron and the pine; a biography of a pioneer family and a pioneer town, describes the process:

 

On the skidways were small piles of logs to be hauled out on the big sleighs to the rollways on the river bank, where they would await the spring drive. The sleighs used to haul the great loads of logs were from eight to ten feet wide at the double runners and shod with inch-thick steel. Twelve and fourteen cross beams or bunks were fastened across the sleigh with "king bolt" in the middle in order that the bunks could be swung back lengthwise on the return trip so that sleighs could pass each other more easily at the "turn-outs." The sleighs were drawn to the side of the skidways and the logs were rolled onto the bunks, at first by the loading and decking crew with canthooks, then as the pile became higher, decking chains were placed around the middle of the logs and the logs pulled onto the high load with horses. The entire load was bound by chains at each end and was ready to go. The teamster climbed to the top and drew up his reins. Again speaking quietly to his horses, the driver reined his team to the right to "break" the runners. Then straightening the animals out for a forward pull, he eased them into their collars. Digging their sharp-shod feet into the ice and snow, the horses started the load. Once the load, weighing from ten to fifteen tons at times, gathered momentum, it did not stop until the rollway was reached.

 

Each teamster endeavored to haul a record load. There was spirited competition and lively small betting between the drivers. In the bunkhouse each crew bragged about the loads hauled during the day.

 

The passage later describes the honored event:

 

The largest load of logs ever hauled out of the woods consisted of 36,055 feet of virgin Michigan pine. The logs averaged eighteen feet in length. The height of the load was thirty-three feet and three inches. The weight was one hundred and forty-four tons. This load was decked by a chain and a team of horses. It was hauled by a team on iced roads to the Ontonagon river, then rafted in the spring to the nearest railroad where it was loaded onto nine flatcars and shipped to the Chicago World's Fair to be used in buildings there. As many a forty million feet of logs were taken out of the woods by one outfit in one season.

 

The load was immortalized in a historic photograph:

 

no-nb_emidata_U01008_hi.jpg

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Wonderful stuff, keep 'em coming! :ninja:

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1893 Aluminum

Chicago 60th Anniversary Souvenir

Eglit 42

44.5 mm Unc

 

915043.jpg

 

The obverse shows a two log cabins and a fishing scene, a man sitting on the dock with a pole, two on a catwalk with a pole, and a boat further out in the channel. The inscription reads, AREA, ONE SQ. MILE CHICAGO 1833. POPULATION, 150 SOULS / VENI, VIDI, VICI.

 

The reverse is an early attempt at the Lord's Prayer on the head of a pin. Hibler & Kappen list one Chicago Facts so-called dollar with minimal facts, but they don't include this piece although it falls within their size limits. This piece reads on the outer ring, AREA 176 SQ. MILES CHICAGO.1893 POPULATION, 1.500.000 / SOUVENIR OF 60 YEARS GROWTH. Interior inscription, TWENTY-EIGHT / RAILROADS CENTRE IN / CHICAGO, OVER WHICH 922 PAS- / SENGER TRAINS / ARRIVE AND DEPART DAILY. / THE TONNAGE OF THE PORT OF CHICAGO / RANKS AS THE FOURTH LARGEST / IN THE WORLD. / TWENTY-SIX NATIONAL BANKS. THE BANK CLEAR- / INGS ARE THE SECOND LARGEST ON THE / AMERICAN CONTINENT. / THE LARGEST GRAIN, STOCK AND LUMBER MARKETS IN / THE WORLD. / 2,000 ACRES IN PUBLIC PARKS, CONNECTED BY THIRTY- / SIX MILES OF BOULEVARDS. / NINETY-FOUR MILES OF STREET RAILWAYS OPERATED BY / CABLE, 350 MILES OPERATED BY HORSES AND / ELECTRICITY, AND 24 MILES OF ELEVATED RAILWAYS. / CHICAGO HAS MORE / FINE OFFICE BUILDINGS THAN ANY OTHER CITY IN / AMERICA, AND HER MAGNIFICENT / HOTELS, CHRUCHES, SCHOOLS AND / THEATRES ARE NOT / SURPASSED BY ANY CITY / IN THE WORLD. / - PATENT APPLIED FOR -. Whew, and all in just 60 years!

 

The Chicago Public Library features vignettes of Chicago history. Legislation passed February 12, 1831 provided that any community of over 150 inhabitants was authorized to incorporate as a town, with limits not to exceed one square mile in extent. On August 12, 1833, the Town of Chicago was incorporated with a population of 350. Chicago grew up around Fort Dearborn. Five or six log houses were located outside the fort, presumably a couple of them are shown on the medal although I do not know the source of the illustration. The Chicago Public Library shows an image, A Map of Chicago, Incorporated as a Town, August 5, 1833, compiled from the original

"Map of Chicago about 1833," by Walter H. Conley and O.E. Stelzer, 1933. (CCW Oversize 44). Although the image is small, you can just makes out some scenes that may have inspired the artist.

 

ccwoversize44.jpg

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1893 Aluminum

Ferris Wheel So-Called Dollar

Hibler & Kappen 171

38.5 mm EF

 

915069.jpg

 

Obverse features the Ferris Wheel created for the fair, Chicago's answer to the Eiffel Tower. The legends around the wheel read CHILDS CHICAGO,around HEIGHT 264 FEET WEIGHT 8600000 LBS. CAPACITY 2160 PEOPLE, outer inscription THE FERRIS WHEEL / ONE OF THE WONDERS OF THE WORLD.

 

The reverse features minature Exposition building medals with minature CHILDS signatures. The medals include: ADMINISTRATION BUILDING / MACHINERY HALL/ ELECTRICAL BUILDING / MINING BLDG / S D CHILDS & CO CHICAGO.

 

The Ferris Wheel was the focal point of the Midway Plaisance (the postcard and hamburger were other notable introductions to our culture at the fair). The ethnographic displays and villages were supposed to be educational, but the were the popular entertainment of the fair, including the the Egyptian 'hootchy-kootchy' dancers.

 

An interactive map of the Midway can be found at http://columbus.iit.edu/dreamcity/midway.html.

 

1893ferr.jpg

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1893 Aluminum

Ferris Wheel So-Called Dollar

Hibler & Kappen 170

45 mm EF

 

915674.jpg

 

Obverse features the Administration Building facade and the inscription, WORLDS COLUMBIAN EXPOSITION / ADMINISTRATION BUILDING.

Reverse features the Ferris wheel with the Midway backdrop and a crowd of people in the foreground with the inscription, GREATEST MECHANICAL ACHIEVEMENT OF THE AGE / HEIGHT 264 FEET WEIGHT 4300 TONS / CAPACITY 2160 PERSONS ENGINES 2000 HORSEPOWER / FERRIS WHEEL.

 

With almost 2200 people on a full ride, it must have been an amazing trip. The view from the top of the Ferris Wheel:

 

00133034.jpg

 

The Administration Building:

 

00063032.jpg

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1892 Aluminum

World Globe So-Called Dollar

Hibler & Kappen 174 Thick

42.5 mm AU

 

916325.jpg

 

Obverse: Bird's eye view of the fair superimposed on a globe with the inscription, WORLD'S COLUMBIAN EXPOSITION / CHICAGO. 1892-3. The outer ring reads, WORLD'S-FAIR / SOUVENIR.

Reverse: Scene of Columbus landing superimposed on a globe with the inscription, LANDING OF COLUMBUS IN AMERICA / OCTOBER 12TH 1492. The outer ring reads, PAT'D DEC. 1, 1891.

 

The globes are definitely raised above the rim on these medals creating the sense of an actual globe. For those of you who have noted my birthday, you will understand the significance of the October 12th date. (Damn that Richard Nixon. He signed the bill to make Columbus day a three day weekend, thus ignoring the real date of historical significance. :ninja: )

 

Bancroft's Book of the Fair offers a contemporary bird's eye view similar to that of the medal:

 

00053069.jpg

 

This medal seems to be one of the more common medals of the fair, including in higher grades. I've passed a number of these before settling on this piece from Ebay. The next step is a graded, encapsulated medal. I haven't taken that step as yet since I would be tempted to release the critter back into the wild.

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1892 Aluminum

World Globe So-Called Dollar

Hibler & Kappen 174 Thick

42.5 mm AU

 

916325.jpg

 

 

I like the look of this one.

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1893 Aluminum

Mexican Souvenir Columbian Exposition

about 2 inches square, Unc

 

919849.jpg

 

I know nothing about this piece except I have a matching one from the California Midwinter International Exposition, 1894 (here).

 

The obverse features a bust of Columbus at the top, the Aztec calendar in the middle, and navigational instruments at the bottom. To the left is a ship, a steam train to the right. The dates 1492 and 1892.

 

The reverse features an allegorical scene with a male adorned for blacksmith work, a female with grains, and Hermes (or Mercury) the messenger of the gods known for his helpfulness to mankind. Behind them is the American flag and an eagle. The banner above reads, RECUERDO DE LA EXPOSICION DE CHICAGO. 1893 below.

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1893 Aluminum

Berry Brothers Ltd., Manufacturers and Liberal Arts Building

Eglit 501

41 mm, 4 mm thick

 

943386.jpg

 

My latest purchase, an advertising medal with the image of the Manufacturers and Liberal Arts Building on the obverse.

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970571.jpg

 

The Michigan Stove Company started using aluminum to alloy with iron in producing their cast iron stoves in 1891. At the time, aluminum was expensive to produce, but it helped ensure smooth casts with no cracks when alloyed with iron. I'm not sure when this aluminum sample advertising medal was first produced, but it is the style of the many aluminum medals produced around the time of the Columbian Exposition. A giant Garland Stove was reproduced in wood and exhibited at the Columbian Exposition and it has survived as a tourist attraction to this day at the Michigan State Fair Grounds. An excellent photograph of the stove can be found on flickr.

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Wonderful collection and historical information. Thanks for sharing. As I recall aluminum was quite expensive in the 1890's, compared to copper or today's pricing that is.

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I have posted aluminum medals up to now. Elongating coins started at the Columbian Exposition and they rolled a large number of coins. I have started a type set for my own collection.

 

An 1876 Indian Head Cent:

 

1014190.jpg

 

An 1892 Liberty Head nickel:

 

966760.jpg

 

and an 1892 Barber dime:

 

955276.jpg

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:bthumbsup: I've seen cents and nickels, but that's the first dime I've seen for the Columbian!

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Eglit lists the following pieces as having been documented as elongated at the Exposition:

 

Indian Head cents, copper nickel cents, Flying Eagle cents, 2 cents, 3 cent nickel, shield nickel, Liberty Head nickel, Liberty Head dime, Barber dime, Liberty Seated quarter, Barber half, U.S. trade dollar, Canada cent, Canada 5¢ silver, British half penny, British penny, German 3 mark silver, Hawaiian half dollar. There may be others recorded since Eglit's work.

 

Of course I also have the official medal over struck on a large cent:

 

7977437377_5fcfa11feb_b.jpg

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Eglit lists the following pieces as having been documented as elongated at the Exposition:

 

Indian Head cents, copper nickel cents, Flying Eagle cents, 2 cents, 3 cent nickel, shield nickel, Liberty Head nickel, Liberty Head dime, Barber dime, Liberty Seated quarter, Barber half, U.S. trade dollar, Canada cent, Canada 5¢ silver, British half penny, British penny, German 3 mark silver, Hawaiian half dollar. There may be others recorded since Eglit's work.

 

Of course I also have the official medal over struck on a large cent:

Bill is just like the energizer bunny. Always bringing new stuff up to tempt the focused (or not so focused in my case) collector into swaying off course to a new arena. Good thing I have my copy of the Eglit book under a time lock otherwise I would be using it for a check list to aquire one of each. CAN you imagine what it would be like to find an elongated half dollar, or trade dollar not to mention the Hawaiian half! I have to go now because I need to make room for elongated coins. :bunnyshock:

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CAN you imagine what it would be like to find an elongated half dollar, or trade dollar not to mention the Hawaiian half!

 

Agree! Though I'm sure/hopefull Bill will introduce us to one soon :X

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