One of the finest and most complete collections of Civil War store
cards and patriotic tokens ever to come to market has been purchased
jointly by Q. David Bowers and Steve Hayden, the buyers announced
Portions of the collection will be offered at auction and at
retail in the future.
The collection of nearly 5,000 tokens was carefully assembled over
many decades, beginning in the 1960s, by Steve Tanenbaum, a noted
token and medal dealer, collector and researcher.
The vast majority of the tokens are in Mint State. Many are
rarities, including varieties that have not been offered in the
marketplace for many years, according to the purchasers.
Until his untimely passing last year in Brooklyn, N.Y., as one of
four victims of a murderous rampage, Tanenbaum was the epicenter of
research on this specialty, according to the purchasers. He had a
wealth of knowledge on history, die varieties, rarity and other
aspects, and worked closely with the Civil War Token Society. In
addition, for many years he was a partner in Rossa & Tanenbaum,
token and medal specialists, until Rich Rossa retired. In later years
Tanenbaum worked with Hayden.
Approximately half the collection has already been professionally
certified, including countless numbers of finest known and finest
graded examples, and others will be certified in coming months,
according to the buyers.
By arrangement with Tanenbaum’s estate, the collection was divided
and sold separately, with Hayden handling the patriotic, Indiana,
Michigan and Wisconsin portions and Bowers handling the Ohio, New
York, Illinois and Tennessee portions.
The transaction was in excess of $1 million each for Hayden and Bowers.
Expanded information is being prepared for publication, including
in the Civil War Token Journal, published by the Civil War Token Society.
The field of Civil War tokens includes privately issued pieces
with political and patriotic motifs and a larger section with Indian
Head, Liberty Head and other designs on one side and advertisements
for merchants and services on the other.
Civil War tokens were privately issued emergency money, introduced
in 1862 and produced to circulate in place of small-change federal
coinage, which was hoarded as quickly as it was struck and placed into
circulation. During the early years of the war, all federal coinage
was withdrawn from circulation by the public because of concerns about
the war and as federal paper money lost value compared to the value of coins.
The Civil War Token Society issues its journal quarterly — with
research articles, market information, advertisements and more. Dues
are $15 per year sent to Secretary John Ostendorf, 523 Hiwasee Road,
Waxahachie, TX 75165.
“I have collected these fascinating tokens since the 1950s,”
Bowers noted. “I will retain about two dozen basic types I don’t have,
and the thousands of others, including varieties I do not own, will be
made available to a new generation of enthusiasts.”
This will be by far the largest and finest collection of Civil War
tokens to appear in the marketplace in our generation, according to Bowers.
Before any are sold, photographs of rarities needed by the society
for the new third edition of U.S. Civil War Store Cards by George and
Melvin Fuld will be supplied by Bowers and Hayden.
Hayden welcomes inquiries by email at email@example.com.
He can also be reached by mail at P.O. Box 22514, Charleston, SC
29413, or by phone or fax to 843-973-4556.
Bowers plans to devote time studying his acquisitions and then
placing many of them on the market via Stack’s Bowers Galleries (www.stacksbowers.com) auctions
and other retail programs.
Sales inquiries for Bowers’ portions of the Tanenbaum Collection
can go to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any research questions can be sent to Bowers at via email directed
to email@example.com. ■