Maryland State Numismatic Association

Maryland State Numismatic Association promotes and advances the knowledge of numismatics along educational, historic, and scientific lines. The organization acts as an umbrella organization to represent member clubs throughout the state of Maryland.

American Numismatic Association Member Club # C-73593 • Life Member Club # LC-42

Schenkman at the MSNA Distinguished Lecture Series

MSNA President Scott Barman presents medals and honorary MSNA Life Membership to David Schenkman following his Distinguished Lecture

MSNA President Scott Barman presents medals and honorary MSNA Life Membership to David Schenkman following his Distinguished Lecture

The sixth MSNA annual Distinguished Lecture by David E. Schenkman, a highly respected numismatist researcher, was on token denominations. The talk was well attended at the June Whitman Coin Expo in Baltimore. The following is based on his talk.

David’s interest in trade token denominations was sparked in 1968 by an article and ANA exhibit by Arlie Slabaugh. In the 46 years since then, David has not been able to reproduce Slabaugh’s collection, but he has added several new denominations. For purposes of a type set, David counts different forms of the same denomination, so “2”, “II”, and “TWO” are all different types. Also, some insurance medals list the amount of insurance coverage, but since these are not trade tokens, they are excluded from the type set. The highest denomination of trade token found is $100.

Many of the denominations can be seen as a fraction of a larger amount. For example, many items were priced at one-eighth or one-sixteenth of a dollar, even after the U.S. demonetized Mexican coins of those denominations in 1857. Tokens of these values were issued from the 1870s and into the Twentieth Century. Some of the more imaginative tokens even show horse bits for each 12½ cents. The stranger denominations may be due to taxes. Some tokens have one amount in trade and a lower amount (such as 90% of face) for cash. There are also tokens that might have just been used for publicity or for pay out of gambling machines, so there may not be any rhyme or reason to the amounts.

You can read more on the Fall 2014 issue of the Maryland Numismatist (Vol. 42, No. 3) which includes pictures of some of the tokens David showed as part of his presentation.

At the conclusion of the lecture, Mr. Schenkman accepted an honorary life-time membership to MSNA and a presentation set of MSNA medals.

President’s Message: Fall 2014

The numismatic summer season began for us with Dave Schenkman as our sixth speaker for the annual MSNA Distinguished Lecture. With a nice-sized audience, Dave walked through an entertaining talk about collecting trade tokens by their numbers or denominations. Not only...