Sunday, March 30, 2014

Market Watch

Just got back from Baltimore Coin Expo. I have lots of news about this! There were a few dozen tokens, including the Holy Grail of CTs -- two of them! I was fortunate to take a few CTs home; however, I left many on the table including the HGs. More on this (plus pictures) in the weeks to come.
     For now, I will review the ebay marketplace for the week of March 23 thru March 29. It was a busy week due to a large offering of CTs on Saturday.
     All told, 87 CTs were sold this week. This figure includes a paper token and a lot of five pieces in rough condition. The bulk of the pieces (77 to be exact) sold for C money with only 10 additional CTs selling at or above $20. One of these sold in the B range at $50 (actually the hammer was just shy by a few cents).
     A large group of CTs were sold by benachie (from Aberdeen) yesterday -- a whopping 56 pieces. He stated that this group came from a collection of 700 tokens that have been sitting since the 1970s, so more big auctions are on the way. Most of this group crossed the block in the C range. Bidding was active with over a dozen folks participating overall. It was an opportunity, as most of the CTs were nice.
As the use of metallic tokens passed out of fashion
in the mid to late 1800s, paper cards took their place.
     The one B CT sold came from this grouping: a small Fife rectangle from Forgan dated 1774 and cataloged as BK434. Four bidders entered the fray with two of them fighting it out at the end, casting 18 bids to reach the $50 mark. This specimen had a flat ashen patina with nice eye. Here is the link: Forgan 1774 CT.
     A paper communion card sold at the beginning of the week. We do not see many of these for sale. This one was from Wesleyan Methodist Church and was dated 1859. Autence Bason provided a catalog of these; however, I do not have this section of the guidebook. I did find several listings for Wesleyan Methodist Church in Pennsylvania (the seller is from PA, so I took a guess), but I will leave it to someone reading this blog to write in an let us know if it is from the keystone state or somewhere else. The card sold for one bid: $20.
     Other news includes the upcoming Simmons Gallery auction of the Bob Merchant collection (Part 3). This sale closes in May, so we have much time to discuss it. I will provide a review of the sale in upcoming posts.


  1. I enjoy the very regular postings on your blog, and congratulate you on your initiative and enterprise. The mention of communion cards in the current post reminded me of a narrative in a novel by Robert E. Knowles. The book, St. Cuthbert’s of the West, is listed in the bibliography of Communion Tokens, with Illustrated and Descriptive Catalogue of those of Dumfriesshire, by Rev. H. A. Whitelaw. Knowles was a Canadian Presbyterian minister, and his novel published in 1905, is thought to be loosely based on his experiences as minister of Knox’s Church, Galt, Ontario, where he was the pastor from 1898 to 1915. In chapter XII he relates an emotive tale of the St. Cuthbert token, that is described as having a “picture o’ the goblet” on one side, and dated 1845. The relevance of communion cards comes in the story when they replace the metal tokens – “that was the day they tell’t the fowk hoo communion cairds was better, an hoo they wudna use the tokens ony mair. Then Donald grippit the seat, an’ he rose an’ gaed oot o’ the kirk, an’ cam hame…That’s why he never gaed mair to the kirk…” To appreciate the context of this snippet, the book can be downloaded for free at:

    The book appears to have been popular as it was reprinted a number of times and published on both sides of the Atlantic. The American edition shortened the title to St. Cuthbert’s. The modern reader may find the prose flowery, sentimental and religiose, but the dialogues rendered in the Scots vernacular are insightful and often humorous.

    The fictional token the cards replaced seems to be an amalgam of the St Cuthbert’s tokens of Edinburgh that portray the chalice, and the tokens of Knox’ Church, Galt, which bear the date 1845.

  2. Thanks for your kind comments. I will visit the website to get a look. Interesting melding of token designs that you describe -- makes you wonder how much deliberation went into describing the metal token that way.