"Speculations About Yankee Robinson"
by Roger Leafgreen Jr.
Extracted from The Civil War Token Journal, Volume 15 Number 2.
Yankee Robinson was a very successful carnival showman as evidenced by the number and variety of his tokens. Based upon quantity estimates relating to the Fuld's rarity guide and allowing for lost and destroyed tokens, it would not be unreasonable to assume that he produced at least 15,000 to 20,000 tokens.
It could be assumed that the common tokens were issued for admission to shows, whereas the off-metals were probably produced by the die-sinker as collectors items. One exception would be NC-20f struck over a liberty seated half dollar. Apparently this piece entitled one to attend multiple shows or some combination of shows.
The overstrike would have been a convienient alternative to the production of a special oversize planchet and dies for multiple show tokens. It is not surprising that Robinson would choose a larger denomination coin for a higher value token, since at that time coinage denominations were proportional to their intrinsic metal value.
The rarity rating of NC-20f is an R-8, indicating an estimated 5 to 10 in existence. The only NC-20f I have encountered is the one pictured in Fuld's reference work and the one shown in Volume 9 Number 3 of the CWTS Journal. Close analysis of the picture shows these to the pictures of the same piece.
I recently obtained an overstrike in a purchase of miscellaneous coins from the general public. I was obviously surprised to obtain the piece in this fashion and even more surprised to note that the date of the piece was 1853. The Fuld reference piece was 1854.
My speculations lead me to believe that Robinson or the diesinker were not particular as to the date or variety of the coin selected, but were concerned only with the denomination. If the rarity scale is correct, a number of other pieces should exist in addition to these two. To evaluate my speculation, I would appreciate hearing from others who have specimens of this overstrike variety.
Editor's Note: A merchant such as Yankee Robinson probably counter-stamped
every half dollar he received (This was obviously the admission charge
for his show). It is probable that there are quite a few C/S half
dollars around. David Schenkman has one dated 1843 and has had at
least four of them in the past few years. An R-8 rating is perhaps
a bit high.
|165EZ-3a||Shorter Hand Dividing Date||C||R-2|
|165EZ-16a||165EZ-14a/hand points right||C||R-3|
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