G.A.R. mementoes recall 1892 D.C. encampment

Bowers examines embossed store cards from 1867 to 1876
Published : 02/23/12
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Mementoes from the Grand Army of the Republic National Encampment in 1892 in Washington, D.C., and embossed store cards are highlighted in the January/February issue of the TAMS Journal, a bimonthly publication of the Token and Medal Society.

Exonumia expert David Schenkman explores the founding of the G.A.R. in 1866 by Dr. B.F. Stephenson, who served as a Union surgeon with the 14th Illinois Infantry from April 1862 until the unit’s disbanding in June 1864.

The G.A.R. was a fraternal organization composed of veterans of the Union Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marines and U.S. Revenue Cutter Service who served in the American Civil War.

The first G.A.R. post was established in Decatur, Ill., on April 6, 1866, with the first national encampment reuniting former combatants from the Civil War held in November 1866 in Indianapolis.

In 1868, the national headquarters of the G.A.R. was moved to the nation’s capital. The G.A.R. was disbanded in 1956 when its last member died.

Among the types of mementoes Schenkman illustrates from the 1892 encampment are medals, tokens, hanging badges, ribbons and engraved sterling silver spoons, all bearing different designs.

Schenkman writes that he plans to include in future issues of the journal items from the 1902 and later encampments in Washington, D.C.

Noted numismatist Q. David Bowers discusses and illustrates embossed shell cards from 1867 to 1876 featuring coin designs, in his second installment on the subject.

Among the pieces Bowers illustrates is one issued by Springfield, Mass., clothier D.H. Brigham & Co. that has an obverse design resembling that of a Draped Bust silver dollar, but bears the date 1776 (the first Draped Bust dollars are dated 1795). A printed disk on the reverse advertising the firm is held down by four folded-over tabs.

The remaining nine examples illustrated are pieces issued by nine different merchants with obverses resembling Seated Liberty silver dollars, and dated 1867 to 1869 inclusive.

TAMS members receive the journal and supplements as part of their annual membership. Dues are $25 in the United States, $35 in U.S. funds to Canada and $50 in U.S. funds elsewhere, with $24.50 set aside for a one-year subscription. An annual nonmember subscription to the journal in the United States costs $26.

Dues and other membership information should be directed to the TAMS treasurer, Mark Lighterman, 5224 W. State Route 46, No. 408, Sanford, FL 32771-9230. Lighterman’s email is mlighter@bellsouth.net.

The website is at www.tokenandmedal.org. ■

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