Saturday, June 21, 2014

Welcome Covenanters

Our CT Covenant is growing.  And a few others are watching.
     This blog spot is our Glen. Fortunately, we do not have to gather in the cover of dusk. Or worry about the King's troops. In fact, our activities are center-stage for all to see and enjoy. In fact, this blog spot has had over 10K hits in the past year -- it is a well-trodden path.
     Covenanters (and onlookers) do not have to produce a token to enter the Glen -- "Token," the elder would bark, as he stiffly held out his hand. But, I bet our pockets and drawers are full of CTs.

     Feel free to try a short posting to see if everything works. Consider sharing a picture of your newest acquisition. I'm sure many of us will recognize it ... especially if you are on ebay much.
     The marketplace has been active, so I am sure that some of us are adding new pieces on a regular basis. I managed to get a few pieces just yesterday, and I am looking forward to the ritual of examining, cataloging, and packaging them into tidy flips with a small descriptive card.
     The hammer prices have been very reasonable this month. I think the FF will provide a review of the action at the end of the month.

     But for now let me share a recent find that was reported by a metal detectorist in the "backwoods" of PA. Our lucky treasure hunter was searching for coins in a wooded area in the Hartslog Valley of central PA. He found a CT from this rural outpost. As he put it, he was unsure if this tiny lead token of 6 x 10 mm was historically significant, but now he knows that he has something special and rare -- not just a dog or cattle tag! Of note, reissue CTs of this variety (Bason-243) exist -- I cannot tell if this is one of them.
This one looks to be in nice shape,
especially for a "grounder" -- it is
cataloged as Bason-243.
     In any case, the found CT is neatly inscribed with thin, block letters adorned with delicate serifs. The sawtooth borders (Bason says: "dog-tooth") provide an attractive, folk-art frame. The small rectangular size is quaint but easily slips between the fingers (at least in this case).
     According to Bason, Hart's Log Church was first described in 1786. As quoted from Bason: "In 1814 as a result of a political feud the Alexandria Church seceded from Hart's Log Church. In 1830 churches of Hart's Log and Alexandria were united. Lead from which these tokens were made was likely dug from Canoe Valley, adjacent to Hart's Log Valley." The town of Hartslog is now called Alexandria.
     There is a website that describes the church: Check it out at Hartslog Church Site. This site has photos of the church site. Also, be prepared, as there is fife and drum music!
     Apparently, the church name is derived from a hollow log used as a trough by trader John Hart in the late 1740s for his pack animals. The log was located on a pioneer trail known as the Frankstown Path. The Hartslog church was constructed nearby; it was a log structure with no windows and a dirt floor -- cold in the winter and stifling in the summer. The parishioners sat on split-log benches, facing a rough-cut pulpit while swallows fluttered overhead.
     CT history does not get any better than this! Makes you want one of these HL rectangles, doesn't it?

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Market Watch for May 2014

It was a vibrant month in the marketplace. There were over 320 CTs sold on EBay and over 500 lots offered in the Simmons Gallery auction that closed mid-month. These numbers add up to over 800 CTs on the hammer
     The large numbers of CTs sold were bolstered by several big sales that were conducted on EBay throughout May: xonumia sold 36 CTs between May 19-20, 22 CTs between May 21-22, plus two group lots of 17 and 20 CTs; comtok continued this month with 37 CTs on May 3rd, 26 CTs on May 14-15, and 12 more CTs on May 26; and finally, cobwrightfortishe sold 18 CTs on May 15 plus 14 more CTs on May 30.
     Examining these EBay sales, most CTs sold (257 pieces or nearly 80%) were hammered down for under $20, placing them in the C category. Another 49 CTs crossed the block in the B category (under $50), whereas only 18 CTs sold above this mark. Ten CTs sold in the BB range, five more in the A range, and three CTs (all sold with one bid) garnered AA money.
This is a true diamond CT.
It took until 1949 for this CT to be cataloged
by K&L in the Proceedings. It is a Free Church
CT attributed to N. Albion St. Chapel.
     The top three AA CTs were all English pieces sold by the same NZ dealer on May 26: 1) a round Crown Court piece from London, dated 1848, brought $130; 2) a second round piece, this one from Lloyd Street Church in Manchester, dated 1801, brought $130; 3) a cut-rectangle dated 1861 from Trinity Church in London came in at $104. All three were described as ex-Burzinski (cataloged as BZ1696, BZ4617, and BZ4436 respectively).
     The five A CTs all sold within the tight range of $75 to $87, but the bidding patterns were quite different. The most expensive piece was a Glasgow diamond, dated 1783 (KL49-46). This is a true diamond with acute and obtuse angles (not a rotated square). Nine bids were entered by eight bidders to push the hammer to $87. Most interesting was the bidding pattern: it appears that each player took a single stab at it, but no one stood their ground and defended their move. In the end, the price was fair given that a similar one sold last year for $96.
     In contrast, a Glasgow-styled square from Port Glasgow, dated 1761, soared skyward with only two bidders doing battle. This one sold for $75 after 23 bids from four bidders -- but 21 bids came from one player chipping away at an early high bid from the winner. It was a beautiful piece with the Arms of Glasgow in the center, all bold and steeped in a dark patina (BK914A) -- it does not come around often. Here is the link:  Port Glasgow CT.
     Another battle was waged over an oval from Brechin (East Parish), dated 1836. Here, three bidders made 27 moves to inflate the hammer to a whopping $81. It was an attractive piece with simple design and unusual verse (BZ999). But was the price too high? Another one was sold by Simmons Gallery last year for 6 GBP (under $10), and a second piece went unsold yesterday that was offered with a BIN of $16.50. Maybe the $81 piece was a variety(?), or it was just a bidding war!
     The two other A CTs were from England: a cut-rectangle from Warrenford (BZ7127) and a super-cool square from Etal (in Northumberland) with incused heart (BZ2467) -- the latter sold at a BIN of $83, the former traded hands for $79.
     I will leave the Simmons Gallery auction for later, or perhaps someone else can provide some analysis on this sale. Finally, I thank TH for helping with this Watch.