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Homepage Archives Open in new window Index (02/2003) AMP (01/2003) AMP (03/2003)   Vol. 37 February 2003 
Ask Mark Parker!
As seen in the February 2003 edition of W&ET Magazine


Question This central Arizona find is obviously an Atlantic & Pacific Railroad baggage tag. I am curious as to the significance and use of the "LOCAL" designation, as well as the tag's current scarcity and value.

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Answer Although the A&P was chartered in 1866, its western portion was begun some years later, and the line from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Needles, California was not completed until 1883. In 1897, the name was changed to Santa Fe Pacific. So, your tag was likely in use around 1885-95. "Local" simply means that it was not intended for service (transfer) off the home line. The W. W. Wilcox Co. of Chicago, whose mark appears on the bail, was a major manufacturer of railroad baggage tags in that era. Scarcity? On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the rarest, call it an 8. Value? Don't settle for less than $400-450.


Question A while back, I was relic hunting in a hayfield near Newark, Delaware and recovered what I believe is an old Navy button. It has 16 six-pointed stars surrounding an eagle next to a shield with an anchor on it, and the back reads "A M Peasley Boston." It is a one-piece button, flat, with a trace of gilt remaining. The shank is only partially intact. Because the button is very dark, I couldn't get a good photo of it, so I am sending a rubbing instead. Please check it out and let me know what you think.

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Answer This early 1800s U.S. Navy button is listed in Albert's book as #NA 66B. The maker, Aaron M. Peasley of Boston, Massachusetts, was active as a diesinker and engraver between 1810 and 1823, and perhaps a bit earlier &/or later. If it were problem-free, this would be a $250 button. As described, it may be closer to $175, but it's still a mighty fine find.


Question At an old horse racing track in northern Idaho, I dug this 2-1/2 "Home Ranch, Cheyenne, Wyo." trade token. It is brass or copper and, measuring from tip to tip, 1-1/6". Thank you for any details you can provide about it.

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Answer It's one of a dozen or more varieties issued by the Home Ranch, 315 West 17th Street, Cheyenne, Wyoming, which Robert Myers and Tim Williams operated as a saloon, beginning in 1903. After 1916, Myers seems to have been the sole proprietor. When Prohibition hit in 1920, the Home Ranch became a sort of recreation and refreshment emporium with billiard tables, soft drinks, etc. and remained in business at least until 1922. I asked both a well-known dealer and a Western states tokens specialist to price this piece, and their estimates were exactly the same: $20.


Question I uncovered this medal while coinshooting in New Jersey. It's marked "July 5-9 International Convention E L 1905. In the center is a mountain with "Look Up, Lift Up" and "All for Christ." An identification would be appreciated.

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Answer It's a badge issued for the Epworth League (E L) convention held in Denver, Colorado in 1905. Said to be the first major denominational group of its kind, the Epworth League was established in Cleveland, Ohio in 1889 as an organization for Methodist young people. It was officially authorized by the Methodist General Conference in 1890, and local chapters soon sprang up nationwide. There were three divisions: Junior, ages 10-12; Intermediate, 13-17; and Senior, 18-34. Usually meeting on Sunday nights, they focused not only on Christian character and church membership, but also on missions, social reforms, and fund raising. The "Epworth" of their name came from Epworth, Lincolnshire, England, the boyhood home of John Wesley, founder of the Methodist movement; "League" was taken from a Wesley quote: "I desire a league, offensive and defensive, with every soldier of Jesus Christ." If it were in good condition, with its original hanger bar intact, the badge might bring $15-20; as is, only a few dollars at most.


Question I'd like some information on this token. One side has "Phoenix Brewery," a large, spread-winged eagle, and "Buffalo, N.Y." The other reads, "Brewers of Pilsener & Wurzburger Beers. Buffalo's Famous Brews."

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Answer Depicting the mythological phoenix (for which the firm was named) rising from the flames, this advertising token is probably around 90-100 years old. The Phoenix Brewery (Ziegele Brewing Co.) was in operation at Washington & Virginia Streets in Buffalo, New York from 1887 until 1920. Its founder, Albert Ziegele, had previously operated breweries at two other locations in the city, beginning in 1855. Prohibition put an end to the Phoenix Brewery's prosperous run, and unlike the famed firebird, the firm never revived. I couldn't find a published value for the token, but wouldn't be surprised if it fetched $20-25 or more. Incidentally, there's also a fancy Phoenix Brewery watch fob, c. 1905-15, worth $75-100.


Question Mark, I recently found this old Buster Brown adjustable ring. It has a bronze finish and is in excellent condition. I'd like to know its approximate age and value.

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Answer Mischievous little Buster Brown and his toothy dog, Tige, creations of cartoonist Richard F. Outcault, first appeared in 1902 and were an instant hit, remaining funny-paper favorites for many years. Of course, this success led to all sorts of advertising spinoffs, and soon "official" products were popping up everywhere- most notably Buster Brown shoes, still a leading brand today. One of the earliest character premium rings boasts young Buster and is worth hundreds of dollars. Yours, however, is attributed to the 1940s- heyday of Smilin' Ed McConnell's Buster Brown Gang radio show- and catalogs for $50-75+ in Fine or better condition.


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