CWTS Article of the Month!

June 1999

"The Other Store Cards of Central New York"

by Thomas Fredette

Extracted from The Civil War Token Journal, Volume 31 Number 3.

   There are at least two facts about the Civil War store cards of Central New York which need an update: the first, is that Utica, New York "...was the only town in the central New York area to have Civil War tokens." The second is that the store cards of M.L. Marshall are " interesting item from the Finger Lakes Region".

    Oswego, New York, the city from which the merchant tokens and store cards of M.L. Marshall were issued is located on Lake Ontario and describes itself as "the Port City of Central New York". Marshall, who was the proprietor of a fishing tackle and coin shop, issued Merchant tokens NY 1007-10 dated 1860 and CWSC 695A 1 and 2 in 1862 and 1863 respectively.

    NY 695A- 1 is a 29 mm token which is a bit large for a store card and it replicates his merchant design of 1860. The obverse shows what the Fulds describe as a fisherman "... dressed in heavy Winter clothing including a pair of earmuffs. Central New York fishermen friends of mine, familiar with the fishing around Lake Ontario, think differently about this description. The figure, a man, is most likely bait- casting, standing on the bank of a river or stream with the other shore and evergreen trees in the background. He is using a two-handed cane rod with wooden butt. He is dressed in a long woolen coat with high socks and (hopefully) waterproofed shoes. Charles Waterman tells us that this was the ".. traditional dress of the classical fly fisherman of the era." Could this be a self -portrait? And, if one examines the store card carefully, it seems as if he has been successful.

    This store card, rated by Fuld as an R-6, is hard to come by. In the few years that I have been concentrating on the store cards of my state, I have only seen one for sale.

    "Blunt" Marshall's second store card issue NY 695A-2 is a smaller, traditional size card and is rated as an R -1. It is fairly common in E.F. condition. This token is the one that tells us that by 1863, he was in the coin business. The obverse depicts a fish, which given an allowance for artistic perspective, resembles a salmon.

    We find the obverse muled with a store card from New York City NY630CH-4a (Thomas White) definitely not a Central New York issue. It is rated R-9. If I came upon this token all by itself and saw that Oswego, N.Y. was the only place name on it, would I think that it belonged in New York City? My token collecting experience tells me that it must have been struck for collector's, and if I did come across one I'd be glad to have it.

    So it would seem that the tokens of Utica are not the only ones issued from the Central New York area. Nor is Oswego a Finger Lakes town. Together with his merchant token issues, the store cards of M.L. Marshall are handsome, accurate and well executed additions to the exonumia of Central New York and the hobby overall.

CWTS Article Archive
Winter 2016 A Reminiscence
Winter 2016 My First Sulter Token
Spring 2016 Protesting Union Civil War Policies
Winter 2015 Slave Owner Issued Civil War Tokens
Fall 2014 Hill the Barber & African American Store Card Issuers
Fall 2014 Gustavus Lindenmueller: The Myth, The Man, The Mystery
Apr. 2004 Henry Varwig - OH165GD
Mar. 2004 Dating Mr. Sayre's Tokens
Feb. 2000 Knowledge of Civil War Tokens
Jan. 2000 Ohio 710A
Dec. 1999 Speculations About Yankee Robinson
Nov. 1999 Hussey's Private Message Post
Oct. 1999 The Great Central Fair
Sep. 1999 Wm. S. Wilcox of Adrian, Michigan
Aug. 1999 Grading Isn't Really a Monster
July 1999 The 1860 Presidential Campaign Medalets
June 1999 The Other Store Cards of Central New York
May 1999 George McClellan - The Peace Maker?
Apr. 1999 Sutler Tokens at Gettysburg
Mar. 1999 More on the Monitor and Merrimac
Feb. 1999 Civil War Token Mini-Set -- General Franz Sigel
Jan. 1999 Die Sinker Errors on Civil War Tokens
Dec. 1998 The Abraham Lincoln Mini-set
Nov. 1998 Civil War Token Errors
Articles reprinted with permission of The Civil War Token Society.
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