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Homepage Archives Open in new window Index (09/2001) AMP (08/2001) AMP (10/2001)   Vol. 35 September 2001 
Ask Mark Parker!
As seen in the September 2001 edition of W&ET Magazine


Question Searching around an old cabin back East, I found this badge. It's copper or brass and is engraved, "Monmouth Police No. 10." I'm curious about its age, which I believe may be c. 1880s, based on the type of pin and catch used. Any comments on this one?

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Answer "Monmouth" probably refers to Monmouth County, New Jersey. Another possibility, while not exactly "back East," is Monmouth, Illinois. The badge's stippled-script engraving, T-hinge pin, and tube catch do indeed suggest that it dates from the mid to late 19th century, so your guess won't miss the mark by much. Any law enforcement badge of that vintage has value, and yours could easily coax an offer of several hundred dollars from an interested collector.


Question Like a lot of treasure hunters, I occasionally swap finds for other items. Recently, I traded a 1916-D Barber quarter in AG-G condition for this silver-dollar sized brass medal. The obverse shows a structure described as,"U.S. GOVt BUILDING. LENGTH 421 Ft / WIDTH 351 Ft / AREA 3.3 ACRES." The reverse inscription is, "TREASURY DEPARTMENT / WORLD'S / COLUMBIAN / EXPOSITION/ CHICAGO / 1893 / UNITED STATES MINT EXHIBIT." Did I get a good deal?

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Answer I'd say so. The quarter retails for $3-4, Good. This official expo medal, which was struck on site at the Mint exhibit and appears to grade VF-XF, is worth $12-15. You'll find it listed as #HK-154 in Hibler & Kappen's So-Called Dollars, along with numerous other commemorative issues from the same famed world's fair.


Question My dad and I located this Cadillac watch fob or key fob while we were metal detecting in my yard in Corning, Arkansas. On the front is a crest, "1933 CADILLAC," and a picture of an automobile. The back has the following: "Cadillac 1933 Fleetwood Convertible Sedan. Wheelbase 149 Inches. Engine 16 Cylinder - 165 H.P. 452 Cubic Inch. Road Speed 80-100 M.P.H. Improvements No Draft Ventilation. Electric Self-starter. Thermostatic Carburetor. Price $8,000.00" Any information would be appreciated.

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Answer According to Jim & Nancy Schaut, authors of American Automobilia, "It's a pretty rare item... 1933 was a really terrible year for Cadillac because of the Depression, and in fact they only sold 126 luxury automobiles. Since the fob has the price and various specifications and selling points on it, it's probably more of a salesman's item." The Schauts estimate that even in decent, dug condition, such a fob might fetch $200-300 in aggressive bidding on one of the popular internet auctions. By the way, next time you're online, be sure to check out their dynamite website: Also, if you'd like to contact them, write to Aquarius Antiques, 7147 W. Angela Dr., Glendale, AZ 85308-8507. E-mail:


Question Mark, I found this pretty little pendant in Lindsay, Oklahoma. It has 33 diamonds (?) around the edge, a mother-of-pearl inlay beneath the emblem, and "E Pluribus Unum" on a banner above the eagle's wings. The back is marked "STERLING"; however, the word is divided by a rectangle enclosing the letters "THEDA." Actual size is about 1". Know anything about it?

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Answer Designed to be worn by a girlfriend or female relative of a U.S. Army serviceman, it was made by the Ideal Jewelry Mfg. Co., Inc. of Providence, Rhode Island. A leading producer of military-motif "sweetheart" jewelry in the WWII era, the firm often marked pieces with the "Theda" brand name. Price tag today? $40-60


Question Here's an unusual badge that I recovered where there was once a steamboat landing at a lake in Florida. Others have identified it as a hat pin from the 1700s or possibly 1800s. Are they right?

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Answer Not quite. It's an early to mid 20th century British Army "South Lancashire" regimental cap badge. The South Lancashire Regiment, also known as the "Prince of Wales's Volunteers" (as indicated at the bottom of the badge), originated in 1881 when the 40th and 82nd Regiments of Foot combined. The three-plumed coronet is that of the Prince of Wales; the motto Ich Dien is German in origin and means, "I serve." The sphinx resting of a tablet labeled "Egypt" refers to the service of the predecessor 40th Regiment in Egypt in 1801. The "slider" type attachment device likely dates from WWI or WWII, although same badge design remained in use until 1958, when the regiment merged with others to form "The Lancashire Regiment (Prince of Wales's Volunteers)," which was then made part of the units constituting the Lancastrian Brigade, and began wearing the brigade's badge. In good condition, your find is worth $20-25.


Question Could you please tell me what kind of coin this is? It's a little over 1/2" in diameter and made of either brass or bronze. I've shown it to a couple of dealers, and they couldn't identify it.

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Answer It's an imitation Liberty Head $1 gold piece, produced for the novelty or jewelry trade. U.S. gold dollars were introduced in 1849, and a wide variety of California gold coins of the same denomination (as well as fractional 25 and 50 ones) appeared a few years later. Inevitably, they sparked a collecting mania, and many ended up in jewelry and other decorative wares as well. This, in turn, led to the striking of still more varieties- and later on, legions of low-gold or no-gold look-alikes, which is what you've got. Genuine $1 gold pieces will have DOLLAR or some abbreviation such as DOLL. or DOL. on them. Unfortunately, a base-metal issue of this sort, its gilt long gone or going, is worth only a few dollars at most.


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