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U.S. Shell Cards

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A new collecting subject for me (sort of). I had two, but now I have started to acquire a few more. They are fragile and few have survived as a result. Most are rare, although collectible since there is little published about them. Q. David Bowers and the Token and Medal Society are working on changing that.

 

I was happy to get this piece from the Dakota Territory, 1868:

 

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34mm, brass. Made by T.N. Hickcox & Co.

 

According to Bowers: John Wanless supplied items to visitors and to the fort, general merchandise. He also furnished hay for horses. Apparently, he was from Denver City, Colorado Territory.

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A shell card from Lent's New-York Circus. The troupe of trick riders and acrobats played in New York ca. 1868 in the winter and travelled throughout New England in the spring and summer months.

 

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38mm, brass. The shell card known in thick and thin versions of which this example is thick. Reportedly, 20 to 30 are known.

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A W. F. Scheible store card from 1867. The reverse paper insert is damaged and missing much of the text. I have faded in the text from an intact store card so it is readable. The bold text is what remains on my card. Reportedly, only 2 or 3 pieces are known.

 

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38mm, brass. Made by Perris & Browne, New York City.

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The Brandon Manufacturing Co. made the Howe Scale. They likely distributed shell cards with demonstrations of their scales at the 1876 U.S. Centennial Exposition. The recipient of my store card weighed 156 pounds.

 

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38mm, brass. 100 to 200 known making it one of the more common shell cards. The reverse is known in several different colors. Made by William F. Hyatt, successor to T.N. Hickcox & Co., New York.

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They're wonderful. Seems like the perfect time to gather some before they become a new trend in Numismatics.

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An interesting area for you to plow Bill. This, to my knowledge, is the only shell card listed in BHM, though it is not described as such.

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BHM#2751 Br. 33mm (filled) RR.

 

Allen#SK-B285 RRR Br shell.

 

The medal was made from two thin pieces of embossed brass, the reverse included the edge, the obverse was fitted inside of the reverse's edge and the edge locked the obverse in place. Unusual issued for the 1862 International Exhibition Kensington.

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A Mexican shell card struck by a U.S. manufacturer. There are a handful of pieces known, but all are rare. Presidio del Norte was a fort built on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande across from Presidio, Texas in what is now Ojinaga, Mexico.

 

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Guillermo Hagelsieb of Presidio del Norte (now Ojinaga) issued circular 10-centavos card tokens dated 1869 and 1870, as well as this shell card.

According to Worthington's catalog of Chihuahua tokens, Guillermo (Johann Friederik Wilheim) Hagelsieb was born in Cassel, Germany on 6 March 1832 and migrated to Galveston, Texas in 1852. He eventually ended up in Ojinaga. He was Director of the official journal, El Estado de Chihuahua, in November 1885 and died in 1902. Grove lists the piece under hacienda tokens, while Prendergast lists the paper tokens under mining scrip.

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Yes, Scientific American is the magazine, Scientific American.

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11847700244_4326027411_b.jpg

 

Schnapps, what better theme for a shell card? These count as relatively common and are mostly high quality (better than mine pictured here). That means lots of people saved and preserved them over the years. They must have liked schnapps.

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Not particularly well preserved consider the fact that the college still has unissued pieces after all these years.

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Nice pieces Bill. There's some interesting History represented here.

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I found a scientific American shell card in a ghost town about 4 inches under the dirt I wish I knew how to upload a photo do we know how to date these cards I cant assume the date on the face is the correct date can it be? 

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