#4635292 - 03/01/1108:06 AMRe: Hard Times Tokens - Post Your Images
[Re: Hard Times]
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Beck’s Public Baths Token, Virginia. Richmond, HT-441 / Low-275.
One of the most famous 19th century tokens listed in The 100 Greatest American Medals and Tokens by Q. David Bowers and Katherine Jaeger as their number 86.
While today we may think that, per the saying “cleanliness is next to godliness” it was not always so. In the period from about 1832 to 1844 when Charles Beck distributed his Beck’s Public Baths tokens in Richmond Virginia as bathing was an occasional experience at best. Houses did not have indoor plumbing and for most people in the city the closest thing to a bath was wiping with a soapy wet cloth. Across the country some academies and boarding schools made it an offense to bathe in the colder months as the practice being deemed unhealthy. For those who desired to bathe public baths were operated in most of the larger cities. Records show that in 1832 Charles Beck was a confectioner and the operator of a bathing facility. The baths were in operation until at least 1844. These tokens about the size of a quarter dollar may have circulated locally as currency or more likely they were used as admission checks.
In 1859 New York City numismatist Charles I. Bushnell published An Arrangement of Tradesmen’s Cards, Political Tokens. Soon the Beck’s token became a favorite with it’s somewhat risqué depiction of a nude woman. Naturally the popularity for this token was immediate and widespread due to the finely engraved naked woman on the obverse. Collectors with an eye for beauty eagerly latched onto these Beck’s Public Baths tokens at an early time. Demand has always exceeded supply since they were first noticed in Bushnell’s early reference.
WTB: Hard Times Tokens... Got Some?
Always looking for select unmolested examples either Raw or in NGC, ANACS, ICG, PCI, SEGS, or PCGS slabs.