Saturday, January 4, 2014

Market Watch

This Market Watch reviews ebay sales for the past week: December 29 through January 4. As the holidays continued to wind down, CT trading was slow. The weather was frigid too, so maybe that was a factor -- everyone was huddled by the stove. Consequently, there were only 18 sales this week.
     Eight CTs sold for less than $20 in the C range. Nine CTs sold above this mark but under $50 in the B range. In contrast, there was one piece that sold in the A range for $74.
     Several of the higher priced CTs were sold at BIN prices from a dozen or more pieces offered by citcns, a Canadian dealer from Nova Scotia. I have purchased several CTs from this dealer over the years with complete satisfaction.
Clearly the letters and numbers were
hand stamped, as the alignment is
quite poor with the date unevenly
spaced and running into the parish
name -- all the more quaint this way. 
     The top CT for the week was a primitive oval, dated 1850, from the St. Louis de Gonzague congregation (CE-248A1). It was a one-sided piece, broad at 42x30mm, with incused lettering that was hand-punched -- I suppose each one of them is unique with respect to the spacing of the letters. Major varieties include both thin and thick lettering -- this one was of the thin lettering type. As mentioned above, the oval sold for $74 -- a price that is just what the Charlton guidebook indicates as the value.
     Such a primitive oval reflects the use of a relatively late shape (an oval) that was handcrafted on the frontier where resources were likely to be few -- in other words, it is one of the crudest ovals you can find (hence its charm). Many Canadian pieces show this contrast.
     The St. Louis congregation was formed in the 1830s. They met in homes until a log church was built in 1842. The congregation split soon afterwards with some folks forming the Free Church. This CT comes from the Church of Scotland or the old Kirk. The minister was Rev. James Paul; he began his tenure in June of 1850. As such, this token is likely to come from  his first communion service. It is not clear if the token was used later -- or maybe the date reflects the start of his tenure.
     In sum, a slow week, but a good week for collectors who were looking for a few nice Canadian pieces. Oh, and a few Scottish pieces too -- I even got one!


  1. St Louis : The token issued in the next year would be dated 1851 & have JP incuse. Why was a new token introduced so soon? The 1850 tokens appear to have been unsatisfactory in some way - the reverse of my example has been approx the same as the 'new' obverse, same inscription & date, different spacing. This has been obliterated to provide a 'new' flan. The token now has the same configuration and inverted 8 as the example illustrated in Charlton. Was some sort of template now being used to assist with placing the letters? Had the earlier 'unevenly spaced' tokens been deemed unacceptable? If you look closely at the last image on p153 you may with difficulty discern the date & residual elements of St Louis.

  2. While Canadian tokens are under consideration can I ask how common the token on the left of my profile picture is? Not in Charlton example sold on Ebay March 2013.

  3. The token on the left is quite amusing. Maybe an apprentice made the die: Big T in St. (ok, this can be tolerated), but the single T in Matthew's, and is that an N in there too? Also, the X in Halifax looks like a N -- hard to tell with my eyes. In any case, I am quite certain that the elders did not let this effort pass. As for the St. Louis CTs, it appears that the maker was following some sort of template (in his brain), but it all seemed quite loose. Or, maybe just his hands were inexpertly loose. It is unclear if there were several craftsmen with some being more meticulous than others. Frankly, the one that just sold is not very well spaced with the date running into the parish name -- perhaps, it too, should have been smoothed out and made over. It would be interesting to study a bunch of them to see what level of untidiness was allowed and to see if we can learn more from the 1851 issues and the undertypes. Although quite a bit of latitude was tolerated on the St. Louis CTs, your blundered cut rectangle was probably not allowed -- so I guess that they are few, as you probably have surmised.