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1797 New York Theatre Token
Breen-1055, D&H-167 variety.

An interesting piece, struck in England as part of the Middlesex Conder series but long collected as part of the American colonial series due to its New York theme. And it is a particularly impressive token in hand, of the ample size and weight of an English Penny of the period (equivalent to an undated Washington Liberty & Security Penny for colonial collectors wishing a more familiar reference point).

Based on a February, 1993 Colonial Newsletter article by friend Don Scarinci, the total population of Theatre Tokens has generally been described in catalogs since as 13 pieces, though our own proprietary census data includes 18 distinct examples.

Even using our higher population figure, this token ranks among the rarest pieces in the entire colonial series and essentially on par with pieces like the Washington Roman Head (itself a Conder token and, in recent auctions, a 6-figure item).

Of the known examples, one is well worn, a second is distinctly AU and a third has a significant planchet crack at the upper obverse. Of the others, about half are struck from the late state of the dies with the resulting severe bulge on the reverse.

This example is a rich, glossy medium brown with reflective surfaces and some subtle blue toning near the rims, and is struck from an early state of the dies. It also evidences curved planchet cutter marks, as made, on both the obverse and reverse, which are noticeable though they do not interfere with the central design elements.

In all, the look is pleasing and this is a more than representative example of a type which seldom appears on the market. Indeed, we can't ever recall seeing one for sale on a dealer's site (except our own, when we last offered this exact piece some 5 years ago).

A finer example of this token - if one could be located - might run twice this price.



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1797 New York Theatre Token - American Colonial

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