Merchant Tokens - Robert Lovett Jr


     Robert Jr. used an image of a statue of Stephen Girard, found in the main building of Girard College, on both tokens advertising his engraving and die-sinking business and medals honoring Stephen Girard.

Statue and tomb of Stephen Girard

Stephen Girard Medal

Silver, 32mm
(From PCAC Auction December 1991)

Copper, 32mm

Brass (69.2% copper, 30.8% zinc), 31mm

White Metal, 32 mm

Copper, uniface, 31.06mm

Copper, overstruck on a British Penny, 31mm
      The undertype of the piece above can be determined by the lettering still visible around the rim.

Stephen Girard Tokens

PA 330, white metal- plain edge, 32mm

PA 331, white metal- reeded edge, 32mm

PA 332, brass - plain edge, thick planchett (3.15mm), 31mm

PA 332, brass - plain edge, thin planchett (2 mm), 30.9mm

  PA 333, brass - reeded edge, 31.6mm

PA 334, copper - plain edge, 32mm

PA 335, copper - reeded edge, 32mm

     The Washington on horseback image created by Robert Jr is very reminiscent of the Washington Before Boston Medal of Pierre DuVivier and is placed in the same chapter in Baker's 'Medallic Portraits of Washington'. This die was used on his merchant tokens as well as his Historic Series and muled with several other Washington dies.

Pa 337, brass, plain edge, 32mm

Pa 339, brass, reeded edge, 32mm

Pa 340, white metal, reeded edge, 32mm

Pa 341, white metal, plain edge, 32mm

Pa 342, copper, reeded edge, 32mm

Pa 343, copper nickel, reeded edge, 32mm

Pa 343A, silver, 32mm
(image courtesy of Andrew Harkness)

Pa 343B, German Silver, 31.5mm


PA 346, copper, 38mm

Pa 347, white metal, 38mm

      At 15 mm these tokens were some of the smallest produced by any merchant of this era. The St. George and the Dragon die was combined with 3 different dies announcing Robert Jr's business. The St. George and the Dragon image is a copy of a design by the celebrated Italian engraver Benedetto Pistrucci first used on British sovereigns in 1817 and still in use today.

1889 British Sovereign

Pa 348, german silver (66.01% copper, 22.99% zinc, 9.42%nickel, 1.58% silver), plain edge, 15mm

Pa 349, copper, plain edge, 15mm

Pa 349a, copper, reeded edge, 15mm
 (image courtesy of Steve Hayden)

Pa 350, brass, 15mm

Pa 350a, german silver, reeded edge, 15mm

 (image courtesy of Steve Hayden)

Pa 350b, copper nickel, 15mm

Pa 351, german silver, plain edge, 15mm

Pa 351, german silver, reeded edge, 15mm

Pa 351a, copper, plain edge, 14.8mm

Pa 351a, copper, reeded edge, 15mm

Pa 352, german silver, reeded edge, 15mm

Pa 352, german silver, plain edge, 15mm
(image courtesy of Steve Hayden)

     This is probably Robert Lovett, Jr's most well known design, having been used on the Confederate Cent struck by him as well as several other merchant tokens. The soft, conical cap was associated with the residents of Phrygia, a region of ancient Anatolia. In parts of the Roman Empire it symbolized liberty and the pursuit of freedom. It was later used by revolutionary movements in France, the American colonies, and South American nations.

Marble bust of Attis, 2nd century BC

Unlisted - type of PA 353, silver, 19mm
     One of the rarest of Robert Lovett Jr's works. This piece is from Steve Hayden's Sale #33, ex Henry South Collection from Bowers and Merena March 1985. Joe Levine sold an example in his 1995 sale and commented in his description "several other silver pieces are known, but this is the first to appear at auction in a considerable time." One other example sold in a Bowers and Auction in November, 1999. I would like to establish a rarity for this piece so anyone knowing of any other examples please contact me.
     I currently know of 3 silver examples of this token, including the one above (December 23, 2012)

PA 353, copper, 19mm

PA 354, brass, 19mm
     This is the piece that started it all! Back in January of 2004 I was happily collecting small cents and life was good. Then I saw an ad in Numismatic News by Jonathan Kern offering this token for sale. I had some of the Bashlow restrikes in my collection just as novelties that were associated with U.S. small cents and thought this would be an interesting addition. Little did I know where it would lead. Thanks Jonathan - I think.

Pa 355, copper-nickel, 19mm

Pa 356, nickel(?), 19mm
    The Standard Catalog of U.S. Tokens, 3rd Edition, list a nickel variety for this storecard but dealers and collectors I have talked to have never seen an example. I am going to assume this was a mis-identification. Anyone with knowledge of an example in this metal please contact me.

Pa356A, white metal, 19mm
      Rulau gives the white metal example the same value as copper and brass examples, indicating it should be found in similar numbers to these. My research shows it to be nearly as scarce as the silver pieces, or at least it comes up for sale very rarely.

Unlisted - type of Pa 353, gilt, 19mm
(image courtesy of Mike Nowak)

Unlisted (unknown?) Robert Lovett Jr. Merchant Token

White metal, 24.7mm
     This piece was in the Harry W. Bass Jr. Sale, Part 1, Session 3, lot 2117 on May 9, 1999. The description reads " One 24.7 mm white metal. Especially rare, at least to our perception. The condition is EF, but some misguided anti-numismatist has peppered it with pinpricks. That said, the rarity may overwhelm this consideration, making it a worthwhile acquisition. The obverse depicts an Indian in headdress astride an eagle, and carrying a flag. To acquaint everyone but the lot viewers and purchaser with this unusual piece, it is illustrated above".  If anyone knows anything about this piece, or it's whereabouts, please contact me.