"Dating Mr. Sayre's Tokens"
by John Ostendorf - LM 171
Several tokens struck by Joseph J. Sayre, including his own store card are listed as Civil War tokens. However, it is highly unlikely that any of Sayre's tokens were struck during the Civil War.
Sayre struck tokens for Bernard Panzer (OH 165EI), A.J. Blocksom (OH 615A), W.S. Johnson & Bro. (KY 370A), and himself (OH 165FE). All are extremely rare, suggesting low mintages, and most are struck in off-metals like white metal or brass which suggests that they were not intended to circulate as a money substitute.
Sayre is found in the Cincinnati city directories throughout the Civil War, listed as a stencil cutter. Sayre probably worked for another die sinker, Louis Autenrieth, during the war years as he was listed as a 17 year old stencil apprentice in the 1860 census. Louis Autenrieth was listed as a die sinker at the southwest corner of 4th and Walnut in the 1862 city directory. Sayre would later operate his own business on the southeast corner.
Sayre's store cards (OH 165FE) both denote a 4th and Walnut address on the obverse. According to the city directories, Sayre would not occupy this address until 1868. He was listed at 4th and Race in the 1867 city directory. The same obverse was used on the Panzer tokens. The Panzer tokens were a five cent token struck in copper and a ten cent token struck in brass. Bernhart Panzer operated a coffeehouse (saloon) or grocery at 473 E. 3d from 1866 to 1870.
As I pointed out in Volume 35, Number 2 of the Civil War Token Journal, the W.S. Johnson & Bro. tokens were struck after the Civil War. The reverse of KY 370A-2e is identical to the reverse on OH 165FE-2e. The firm W.S. Johnson & Bro. was in business from July 17, 1865 to March 18, 1886.
The final piece of the puzzle is A.J. Blocksom. His store card, OH 615A-1e also has an identical reverse as OH 165FE-2e. The April 2, 1869 edition of the New Lisbon Journal reported A.J. Blocksom died at the age of 34 on March 24, 1869.
Sayre was first listed at the 4th and Walnut address in the 1868 city directory. The information for that year's directory could have been gathered as early as the fall of 1867. Therefore, it appears that the Sayre tokens were struck sometime between the fall of 1867 and the spring of 1869.
|Click on Images to Enlarge :|
Advertisement from the 1867 Cincinnati city directory
Advertisement from the 1868 Cincinnati city directory
Columbiana County, Ohio Newspaper Abstracts Vol. 1-2, by Carol Willsey Bell, Bell Books,
Williams Cincinnati Directory, City Guide and Business Mirror (1861-1872), Williams & Company, Cincinnati.
History of Henderson County, KY, by Edmund L. Starling, 1887, reproduced by Unigraphic Inc., Evansville, Indiana, 1972.
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