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.