Thursday, February 27, 2014

Heart CTs and Luckenbooth Brooches

The heart symbol made itself known in the late Middle ages.
     Some have speculated that the rounded, bilateral curves represented the human body or a fig leaf (maybe ivy too) or seeds of the silphium plant (an herbal contraceptive). The shape also resembled an anatomical heart with its ventricles and vessels imparting the bilateral curves at the top.
     Nonetheless, hearts began to appear more frequently in both religious and romantic art.
Saint Augustine with flaming
heart representing the power
of divine love.  This 17th image
is from Wikimedia.
     The heart had several meanings in the religious sphere; in particular, it was a symbol for the love that God had for mankind. It also reflected the opposite flow: mankind's offering of the self to God.
     But the heart became popular among the romantics. The shape was recognized as a symbol of love for one another. By the 15th century, the heart symbol was commonplace. It was used in secular art, playing cards, and jewelry. A few merchants produced heart-shaped tokens for the marketplace.
     In Scotland, a particular heart-shaped brooch -- known as a luckenbooth brooch -- became popular in the 18th century. The name is from the luckenbooths of Edinburgh where such items were sold. It was a love token, often given as a betrothal or wedding gift. This jewelry was also pinned to an infant's clothing for protection. The luckenbooth brooch was sometimes referred to as a "witch-brooch" to be used to protect children from evil.
     It is no wonder that the Presbyterian elders found heart-shaped communion tokens alarming. Such tokens were associated with the superstitions and occult traditions of the past. The shape was too attractive and reeked of idolatry. The Kirk was strict on such matters, as the churches had been long stripped clean of any object that could be associated with idolatry -- hence, images of saints, angels, and the like were removed.
     Of course, we can never know of the conversations that took place regarding the heart-shaped CTs. But, we can imagine -- and there is much circumstantial evidence to suggest -- that they were not continued because the shape had been profaned by the secular culture.
     CTs were meant for one purpose only -- that is, to be used for admittance to the communion service. The token had to look the part. It had to be staid. It had to be easily handled and passed to the elder standing at the gate. A square, rectangle, or round accomplished this smartly. A CT that resembled those used to profess romantic love was just too fleshy. And the temptation to contemplate a heart-shaped CT in this way was nothing less than profanity.
      For collectors interested in telling this story of rule-governed probity in the early Kirk, a heart CT is an important part of the collection.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Market Watch

This week's market watch is for February 16-22. There were 98 ebay sales this week with a few group lots thrown in. On balance, it was an active week with many nice tokens trading hands -- 103 CTs in all.
     As expected, most CTs sold in the C range with 57 crossing the block for under $20. There were 32 CTs sold in the B range with 9 more hammered down for BB money. Five CTs sold above this mark: two in the A range (over $75) and three in the AA category (over $100).
KB stands for the parish name, but
CL that splits the date is a mystery.
The minister is listed as Robert
Muir who served from 1688-1719.
     Two of the top CTs were American pieces that were discussed a couple of days ago. If we look back at the AA CTs for the last quarter, the top three are American pieces, followed by six Irish CTs, and seven Scottish pieces -- two of them, hearts.
     American tokens aside, the other AA CT sold this week came out of a series of 19 pieces offered by cobwrightfortishe. The CT was a 17th century square, dated 1692, from Kilbride in East Lanark, cataloged as BK571. "Quaint script" lettering (as Brook described it) and a bold date contributed to its desirability as a early piece. Add to this, a pleasant ashen patina with great eye and you get active bidding: 14 bids from four bidders pushed the price up to $106. Here is the link: Kilbride CT dated 1692.
     Early CTs for the 17th century are always in demand, as age is alluring -- we never get to be that old, so the survivorship of these pieces fascinates. These CTs come from turbulent times in Scottish (and Presbyterian) history, so they play an important role in our armchair history-making. There are 97 pieces from the 17th century identified by Burzinski in the Scottish series with half of them dated.
The primitive W on this square from
Strichen adds to its allure as an 17th
 century relic from the Kirk.
     Another 17th century piece sold for A money just as the week was closing. This one was an undated irregular square from Strichen in Aberdeen that sold for $72 with five bidders casting eight bids. It was a single-sided piece with primitive letters: M/WS -- Minister William Scott who served 1627 to 1662. It was cataloged as BK1052. But there was more: another 17th century square from Strichen sold for BB money: BK1053. Note that Aberdeen has the largest number of early pieces cataloged.
     The second A CT was an Irish piece. It was a rectangular token from Gilford, dated 1844, offered by Simmons Gallery. There was not much of a bidding war, as three participants each entered a single bid. The piece was hammered down for $87. A similar CT sold last October for about $130.
     Interestingly, a second monogrammed Inveresk CT dated 1727 (BK536) was offered with little fanfare this week -- this curious token was profiled in late January when cobwrightfortishe sold one for AA money. This time, seven bidders cautiously entered 25 bids, but a last minute bid took it for $55. It is considered a rare piece, but its monogram (or cypher) is what makes it a conversation starter.
     Also of note, three more copper pieces were sold this week -- all from the Aberdeen CT collection that was sold over the last few weeks. An oval from New Byth (BZ5205) traded hands for only $33. Also, a rude rectangular cut of stamped sheet metal (BZ26; BK282) sold for $34 -- several of these have been sold in the past year. Another piece (one that I neglected to mention last week) was from Monquhitter (BZ4944); it sold for $30. Hence, we have seen most of the copper CTs (excluding varieties) from ABD cross the block recently.

Friday, February 21, 2014

American CTs bring Big Money at Auction

Here is one that sold for $300.
This round CT is made from German
Silver and comes from Baxter, PA.
Yesterday, I watched two auctions with trepidation.
     The CTs were listed last week. I watched them all week, as bidding was low and slow. When the final day arrived, I began to worry. One of the pieces, a silvery round piece from Baxter, Pennsylvania (listed as BZ6027 or Bason-190) was stalled at $58 with only hours to go. Was anyone going to bid?
     Last year I purchased a similar piece for $300. I was anxious. Will I get stuck with it 10 years from now? Did folks realize (or care) that is was a rare CT? I started to question if I should jump into the bidding in attempt to inflate the price. Maybe I should buy it to offset the high price I paid for the one I have.
     Really ... I did think this, as if buying another one could make the first one cheaper -- weird economics: taking the average of the two.
     But I really did not want two of them. And I am more focused on my Scottish pieces. So I decided to pass: I turned off my phone and pressed it deep into my pocket. If it sells for $58, well congrats to the new buyer!
     Well I shouldn't have worried. The bidding took off shortly thereafter. Two bidders pushed the price to $200. Then another bidder jumped in. A second bidding war ensued with the new bidder winning the lot for $291. All told, 16 bids from four bidders knocked it down. Here is the link: USA CT from Baxter PA.
     I felt relieved that my piece -- and the price I paid -- was validated. At least for now. I was also impressed by the thin market -- only three serious bidders were in the room. Yet we know that there are several dozen regular CT collectors out there. American CTs, however, are an acquired taste that requires great patience, hundreds of dollars, and an appreciation for simple, often primitive, pieces.
     A second American CT was offered following the Baxter piece. This one was a round from St. Louis (listed as BZ6071 or Bason-65). It was made of lead (I believe) and was darker. It was the kind of token that a specialist would want. And so it was. Only two bidders entered the fray, casting small sums to start. The big bids came in the last two days. One bidder kept on bidding against an early high bid: four times the bids were opposed. The early bid prevailed, and the hammer came down at $357. Here is the link: USA CT from St. Louis.
     The same bidder won both pieces.
A "church token" for less than $2.
     So what is the real value of this second piece? Did we witness an irrational bidding war? Maybe. But the prices for both CTs are close. Both are rare. Both are Burzinski plate specimens. Both are offered infrequently. American CTs typically sell for $250 to $350 in my experience.
     And now the spoiler.
     On November 15th, a BZ6027 (or a look alike) sold for $1.34 on ebay with two bids. This one was listed from Sparta, Illinois (a misattribution). It was listed as a "church token" and was not described as a CT -- hence, it was not discovered. This piece is pictured for comparison: note the similar shape of the P loop, the widely spaced second period. Only $1.34? This has got to be the deal of the year!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Have a Heart: Communion Tokens we Love

If you wanted to have a complete set of hearts, you would need 33 pieces. If you wanted just a type set (skipping the varieties), then only 24 pieces are needed.
     Completing either set would be quite an endeavor -- perhaps a lifetime of collecting to get them all. Some of them are rare, and all of them are highly desired.
     A complete collection of Scottish hearts would represent 11 shires and 19 parishes. These shires are generally located in the east and south of Scotland. As mentioned last week, all hearts are dated before 1800 -- except one commemorative issue from Strath on Skye Island.
Here we have two varieties (each given a separate number
by Burzinski) of hearts from Dunfirmline in Fife.
Note that the upright stem of the D is over the 7 on the
first heart (left), whereas the D is centered between the 7
and 5 on the second (right) one (B1823-4 respectively).
     Here are the parishes: Aberdeen has one heart; Clackmannan has four; Fife has two; Kirkcudbright has five; Lanark has four; Lothians has five; Peebles has two; Roxburgh has four; Stirling has two; and Wigtown has three.  Five parishes used heart CTs on two different occasions: Alloa (Clackmannan), Kirkmabreck and Rerrick (Kirkcudbright), Dolphinton (Lanark), and Kirkton (Roxburgh). And don't forget Skye.
This list does not include the different varieties that were used for the same communion service.
     These findings clearly suggest an apparent regional distribution (albeit broad) with a few parishes choosing to use the heart more than once. The shape fell out of favor quickly -- I will explore this in the next post.
     But for now, we can speculate on how many hearts are out there. Not very many is the answer. They are more common than triangles and pentagons, but they are much less common than octagons.
     In the past year or so, five Scottish hearts have been sold on ebay, and two were sold from the Merchant collection in a Simmons Gallery auction. This small grouping of seven included two from Dunfirmline (BK336), three from Clackmannan (BK187), and one each from Kirkton (BK687) and Airth (BK22). Note that I used Brook #s although subsequently identified varieties exist (and are given separate Burzinski numbers). The first two (BK336 and BK187) are offered most often -- these are probably the most common hearts available (in this order).
     Prices paid are all over the place. The pieces come and go quickly, so inattentive bidders miss the show. Also, some folks -- although desirous of a heart -- are unwilling to pay the BB or above money it takes to get one. For example, two Clackmannan hearts (BK187) sold in late 2012 for $79 and $114 -- only four or five bidders were competing for them. A third Clackmannan heart was hammered down for less than $20 in the Simmons Gallery auction (2013), as few bidders were in the room. I think the value is the average of the first two hammers: about $96. But who is to say that a bidding war pushed up the price the second time? About the same prices have been paid for those from Dunfirmline.
     In contrast, the Airth (BK22) piece sold for $125 -- we have no comparisons to make here, as this one is not placed on the block very often. But it is interesting that only three bidders competed: low demand or reluctance to jump into the fray. Finally, the Kirkton piece only brought $66, but it was heavily worn with flat surfaces.
     In closing, I leave teasers: How many hearts are dated? And what is the oldest date?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Market Watch

This market watch reviews ebay sales for the week of February 9 through February 15. It was a busy week with 73 CTs sold -- looking back, this number is on par with the active trading seen in late November and most of December.
     Most CTs crossed the block at C prices: 53 in this category. Sixteen CTs sold for B money, whereas only four CTs sold for over $50 in the BB range. In this latter group, three CTs were sold in one lot for $174 (about $58 a piece). As you can see, prices were relatively low this week.
     A set of three Crown Court CTs from England, packaged by Lester Burzinski, attracted three bidders. Most of the seven bids were cast by two bidders who pushed the price from $101 to $174 on the last day of the auction. Each piece represents a different variety (one silver CT and two white metal CTs distinguished by thick or thin flans: B1692, B1693, B1694 respectively). Here is the link: Crown Court Church CTs.
     A similar set (offered by the same Canadian dealer) sold for $251 in the first week of December -- four bidders competed at that time, casting 17 bids. This set was offered a second time in early January by the same dealer and was sold for $202 -- perhaps the first sale fell through.
This CT from Forgue is both old
and brass. It has one of the earliest
arrangement of letters found on
CTs: M followed by Initials.
     A brass token from the 17th century also brought BB money this week (BK437). This single-sided piece was from Forgue (Aberdeen) with the inscription: M/AG for Minister (or Mr.) Alexander Garden who served between 1645-1674. This auction attracted 5 bidders, casting 9 bids, to raise the hammer price to $55.
     Brass CTs are unusual, as they do not come up for sale very often. They represent only a small segment of the Scottish collecting field. So it was a bit unusual that there were four other brass pieces sold this week. Three of them appeared to be part of a collection from Aberdeen: all from Fyvie (BK449, BK449 variety, BK450 -- this makes a complete set from this parish). So maybe it was not unusual to see them offered in succession. Bidding was quite democratic, as three different buyers took them home. A fourth one (another BK449) was offered a few days later by a second dealer, and it went to a fourth buyer. These four pieces all sold in the B range (in this case, between $20 and $40). It appears that everyone who wanted a brass piece, got one!
     Previously, a brass piece from Crimond (Aberdeen) sold for $100 in mid-December. I cannot tell you how rare it is, but certainly two bidders wanted it badly. There are seven brass/copper pieces in the Crimond series (all similar). Add to this, the series of three brass pieces from Fyvie as described above. Also, brass/copper pieces are known for the parishes of Forgue (noted above), Longside, NewByth, and New Deer (several of these sold last year). Consequently, we have seen all but two offered at auction in the past six months. Are there other brassy pieces from ABD?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Heart-shaped Communion Tokens

Have a heart!
     That is what they say when compassion is called for.
     It is the most humanly shaped CT. After all, squares are purely of the mind, whereas spheres reflect our cosmos (large and small). But nowhere in geometry do we find hearts, except within ourselves -- and maybe in a few seeds and leaves.
     No wonder that heart-shaped CTs are coveted. The Rev. Burns noted in 1892 (Old Scottish Communion Plate): "The symbol of a heart was no doubt meant to convey the idea of Christ's love for sinners, or the dedication of the communicant's heart to God." In his seminal catalog, Rev. Burns pictured nine hearts among the 186 CTs illustrated (across five plates).
Three different varieties of Kirkton hearts. Note the relative
position of the upper diagonal of the first K where it points
to the edge. Other differences are noticeable too; plus, the
dates are different on the reverse.
     Brook listed 22 hearts in 1907. The Rev. Whitelaw did not add any to the list, but he was able to rattle off ten different parishes that produced hearts. Kerr & Lockie added three (maybe four) new hearts and two more varieties in 1940, plus one more of each after that (1949 & 1952). Rev. Dick identified a variety early on, and Burzinski, two more, later on.
     So how many is that?
     Hopefully, your sum came to 33. Yes, only 33 hearts from Scotland are listed in Burzinski. He has described them all -- unless I missed one [or he missed one] from Rev. Dick or Cresswell.
     These 33 hearts can be reduced to 24 hearts once you consider that the remainder is composed of varieties (intentional or not). For example, we remember from the Market Watch in the first full week of January that Airth hearts come in two varieties that differ in the types of lettering used. Another example (this time due to a die-sinker's error) is found among Kirkton hearts dated 1734: one of these has a blundered date that is upside-down and backwards. Hey, those 7s, 3s, and 4s are hard to get right (opps, I meant left) -- 1s are not so difficult! Note also that some varieties are too minor to be listed (see photo).
     The earliest heart that is dated comes from Rerrick in Kirkcudbright: 1698. The last heart is a commemorative issue from Strath on Skye Island: 1900. The remaining dates are in-between as such: 1709, 1710, 1716, 1731, 1734, 1753, 1761, 1762, 1769, 1769, 1777, 1792. That's all: none date in the 1800s (unless you consider English pieces, like 1801 from Falstone).
     Why no hearts later on? Here, some have speculated that hearts were not staid enough. It is a shape that elicits idolatry. A pretty CT, versus a practical one, tempts use as an ornament.
     I will explore the heart shape further and tabulate the Scottish heart CTs in the next posting.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Market Watch

This market watch reviews all sales on ebay from February 2 through February 8. It was a relatively slow week of trading but for two large offerings by UK dealers and several BIN sales from Canada.
     My tally shows 50 CTs sold with 27 of them selling for under $20 in the C range, and another 16 coming in above that but below the $50 mark in the B range. This leaves seven CTs: five sold in the BB range, and two were bid past the $75 mark in the A range. There were several very good buys made this week, particularly in the C range. Also, a CT described as very rare was sold at the top of the price tally. An interesting Canadian piece that sold in the BB range deserves mention.
A rare CT (BK549).
I added the small N, as this was
omitted from Brook's drawing;
Kerr & Lockie noticed it too.
     As expected, cobwrightfortishe offered up a tantalizing group of 18th century CTs that elicited spirited bidding. Two of the pieces led the way this week, crossing the block at $82 and $77.
     The first of these was a thick, unornamented rectangle from Keithhall & Kinkell in Aberdeen (BK555). The chaste design was typical of many ABD pieces -- leading some to suggest that this was a regional flavor. Bold borders enclosed the word: TOKEN -- no date, no parish initials. Five bidders, casting 8 bids, competed with most of the action on the closing day. The hammer came down at $82.  Here is the link: Keithhall and Kinkell CT.
     The second piece that was bid into the A range was a square from Johnstone in Dumfries dated 1778. It was of the typical design: Parish initials +K over date. However, this one was described as very rare -- and cobwrightfortishe would know, as he has been involved with CTs for decades. This specimen was in excellent condition. Consequently, bidding was active among four players, two of them fighting it out at the end -- the price soared from $15 to $77 on the last day. Here is the link: Johnstone CT 1778.
The CT is from Miramichi located
in New Brunswick (NB218).
     A Canadian CT from St. Andrews Church in Miramichi (New Brunswick) sold for a BIN price of $50 -- a value consistent with the Charlton listing. Yet, this piece is not seen very often -- as such, it sold immediately. It was a rotund oval (26.5x22mm), dated 1816, struck from a screw-press (presumably). The dies are primitively made with punched letters, irregularly spaced, with what appears to be a hand-cut date in the center.
     The oval shape is essentially a modern CT design, but the Canadians were hard-pressed to copy the neat and tidy ovals that were being produced in Scotland at the same time. This was a great buy -- I wish I had spotted it!
     In closing, gordon5260 offered some very attractive CTs including several Glasgow-styled squares and a nice selection of primitively molded pieces from the 18th century. All of them sold for C money: all of them were excellent deals for the collector! The opportunities just keep on coming.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Where do these Communion Tokens come from?

Once you get a few CTs, then what?
     You want the short answer? OK. Keep getting them! They are generally inexpensive if you shop around, so go it! Buy them all!
     You want the long answer? OK. Start to enjoy them: one by one. Too often, collectors just collect. They (or should I say, we) get locked into the accumulation mode, stocking up the safe with stacks of padded envelopes and not enough boxes or pages of neatly arranged CTs. The fire will burn out more quickly if you just accumulate.
     The key to moving towards the box and page world of the tidy collector is to spend time with each token. Every CT -- even the common worn piece -- has a story to tell. We must tell it, as each piece is mute without us.
     We can tackle our CTs with a pure taxonomic strategy: Rounds go here, Squares over there, Ovals in another pile, and so on. But there is more. The next step is to figure out where they came from.
     For those of us in the USA, Scotland is an ocean away. A romantic place where everyone is drinking ale, singing, wearing tartan shirts, and so on ... until, you actually live there and have to get a job to pay bills, get food, fix a roof overhead. And let us not forget Canada just a border away: also a place where everyone is drinking beer, singing, wearing plaid shirts, and so on ... until, you actually live there and have to get a job to pay bills -- you get it! Visitors always get it wrong!

Map, travel books, even a guidebook from the National Trust
can make your communion tokens come alive. 
     In any case, our CTs allow us to travel. This is one of the joys of collecting them. Like most tokens, they come from all over. Just looking up the town or shire or parish is like working a puzzle. The Internet provides a good first glimpse: I have looked up so many Scottish and Canadian towns by sitting here and pecking at the keys. Most of what is on this blog is the fruit of these forays.
     I advocate that you print one or two pages of geographical info for each token in your collection. You can even look at satellite images of ruined churches and the like. Very cool!
     After looking up a token, we hit the maps. So, get a map. I have a modern travel map of Scotland (plus an old one I found in an antique store for a few bucks). There are many maps available on the Internet: here is a link to view a map for each shire in Scotland: Scottish Places Map. Just click on the shire that you want and a map will appear. Want a satellite view? Just click to get one. I like to zoom in and out of these maps! This site is hosted by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society and is associated with the University of Edinburgh.
     I like to study maps, so I purchased a big one. It is laminated, so that coffee spills and oily danish crumbs do not sink in -- perfect! I spread my map out in the kitchen and look up each token. Over time, you get quite familiar with the countryside.
     I also purchased some travel guides. I like the Eyewitness Travel guide by DK publishing -- lots of pictures! The Lonely Planet guide is also on my bookshelf -- more text in this one. If I want to explore Culross or Balquidder, I just look it up. I can even choose where I would have lunch -- how about Monachyle Mhor? They have fresh seafood and local beef.
     If you really want to get a handle on regional CT subtypes, these maps and books will help you. Want to follow the flow of Glasgow Squares? Pull out Brook and Burzinski and check the maps! Place a pin at each spot! Watch how they spread. How about Octagons from Perth? Start putting pins in the map! Start with Kinnoull, then Killin, and so on (only 21 more to go!).
     After all this, I have decided to visit Scotland. It was bound to happen. I am not sure when, but I have decided to go. And to think that I started this trek with just one CT from Strathaven.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Winter is a good time to Read: Guidebook are Available

Lots of tokens in the mail! Yea Man!
(My wife is rolling her eyes.)
A great guidebook, too!
Winter is time to read. And, every season is a good time to add a few more CTs to the collection.
     There are few collecting pleasures finer than getting a plump package in the mail, marked with UK and Canadian ink, colorful stamps, odd placenames -- all judiciously taped so that industrial scissors are needed to get past the stables, foam, cardboard -- just to get a peek inside.
     It is also a good time to get my Communion Tokens Guidebook if you are still without one. I have been selling them at my cost to produce, package, and mail. Check out ebay to find it. It is inexpensive. New and seasoned collectors will find it enjoyable. Plus you can lend it out as a quick way to introduce your specialty to others.
     If you are from Canada or the UK, you can get the book from this link:
     The books are also available at the big Internet booksellers. There is a UK bookseller -- Waterstones -- that has some listed between 12 & 15 BPs. This is what it would cost me to send at my reduced ebay prices, so it is a good deal -- but check out the link above to compare. I have 30 books left.
     As the education chairperson for my local coin club, I am preparing a powerpoint presentation for this month (next Monday). In talking with folks beforehand, I am pleased by their interest. Few folks know anything about these tokens, but when I describe them, they light up.
     Just wait until they see the collecting field spread out before them: squares, rounds, ovals, octagons, hearts -- not to mention, old dates that are hand-cut in archaic styles.
     So here is another reason to get a guidebook. Give a presentation about the CTs you love and pass around the Guidebook. Lend it out. Or just give one as a gift to someone who likes tokens.
     The book is a welcome mat, a hearty handshake, a conversation about one of the greatest secrets of exonumia. Get one before the weather gets warm and you have to mow the lawn instead of read.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Market Watch

This market watch covers all ebay sales for the week of January 26 to February 1. It has been snowy and cold in Virginia with a few balmy days between storms -- just warm enough to turn snow into ice, making driving treacherous. So too, the CT marketplace has been hot and cold: busy weeks interspersed with slower ones.
     This week has been rather slow, but for a few notable CTs. One of them, an American piece from Florida, New York, attracted many bidders throughout the week with the auction closing on a cold Friday night with one surprise bid. A few nice Canadian pieces sold at BIN prices -- what took so long! These Canadians had been for sale for a few weeks at very attractive prices.
     All together, 63 CTs sold this week. 45 of them traded for less than $20, whereas another 15 brought strong prices in the B range (over $20 but under $50). Two CTs edged past $50 and sold in the BB category. As previewed above, one CT from New York was bid well beyond the AA range.
A rare piece of Americana (B2579).
     We all know that USA CTs are rare. They always bring prices above $200. And that is usually just the start. This piece, cataloged as Bason-87, was from the Florida Associate Presbyterian Church, in Montgomery County, New York.
     This church was located in the Mohawk Valley, northwest of Albany. The first settlement in the area was Fort Hunter, established in 1711.
     Many Scottish immigrants had moved to Albany by the 1760s. The first Presbyterian church was established there in 1762 although meetings have been taking place in homes and at the Dutch Reformed Church. Ministers from Albany served the surrounding areas. In his guidebook, Bason indicated that the Florida APC was organized in 1798 as Currie's Bush APC; the name was changed to Florida in 1801. The Reverend John Banks served from 1803 to 1816.
     This irregular oval was dated 1803. The lettering on the obverse reads: Rd. J. Banks./1803/Florida. The reverse reads: Associate Church within a serpentine border. It is a quaint piece with handcrafted elements that impart a primitive look. And it is quite rare: When was the last time you saw one for sale? I wonder how many of them survive? Ten? Five?
     Ten bidders wanted it. Bidding was steady all week. The piece was hammered down for $331 on Friday. A new bidder came in and offered full price and won the lot at the last moment. This is a market correct price -- I think it was a deal. The last time we saw a CT go this high was in November when a Jamaican oval sold for $338. Here is the link: USA CT from Florida NY.
     There were several other nice CTs to be had this week. A grouping of Canadian tokens from Nova Scotia were sold at BIN prices (best offers were accepted). These pieces were posted a few weeks ago. I particularly liked the Glasgow-inspired square from the Upper Settlement, Pictou, East River Congregation (NS-308A2). It sold for $48 -- it was a beautiful piece. Here is the link: Upper Settlement Pictou East River CT.
     Other Canadian CTs included ovals from the Prince Street and Knox congregations at Pictou (NS), cut rectangles from Noel, New Annan, and Earlton (all NS), plus an oval from Ramsay (Ontario). This was a nice chance to get started on a Canadian set, or a Nova Scotia set. All of these CTs sold for prices between $31 and $58 -- at or below the valuations given in Charlton. I hope the buyer has (or gets) a copy of Laurie Stanley-Blackwell's book: Tokens of Grace: Cape Breton's Open-air Communion Tradition -- this study illuminates the CT tradition in upper Nova Scotia.