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Commems Collection: 1892 Columbian Exposition - Special Day Badges

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 Posted 02/09/2017  01:52 am Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Badges have long been a part of world's fairs and expositions. VIP badges, guest badges, staff badges, security badges, souvenir badges and special event badges are all very collectible pieces of World's Fair memorabilia and have many avid followers.

The expositions for which US commemorative coins have been issued are no exceptions; all have had a variety of badges associated with them. The 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, however, has a set of badges that are especially relevant to collectors of the classic US series.

Read More: Commems Collection

The 1893 Exposition hosted quite a few special event days during its operation. Between May 17 and October 30 -- a span of 167 days -- 81 different dates were identified as special days for the Exposition. The honorees were a diverse group, US states, nations of the world, fraternal organizations, business associations, national and international holidays and several others. For example, Norway Day kicked things off on May 17, College Fraternity Day was July 20, August 5 was California Pioneer Day, North Carolina Day was August 18, British Empire Day was August 19, Ottoman Empire Day held court on August 31, Odd Fellows Day was September 26 and Coal, Grain and Lumber Dealers' Day was October 27. More than a dozen of the dates featured multiple honorees. For example, the honors of September 12 were split between Maryland Day, Shoe and Leather Day and Colorado Day!

Three special days that occurred late in the Exposition's season have a particularly strong tie to US commemorative coin collectors: Chicago Day (October 9), Manhattan Day (October 21) and Columbus Day (October 30).

For each of these days, a special hanging badge was created that featured an 1893 Columbian Exposition half dollar!

Shown here are examples of each. The Chicago Day badge features a red ribbon, the Manhattan Day a navy blue and the Columbus Day a dark teal-blue (I've also seen the Columbus Day with a gold/yellow ribbon). When encountered, most badges will feature a coin in VF to XF condition that is darkly toned. Finding examples with intact ribbons that are still attached to the top bar can be difficult -- I've seen more examples with torn / ripped ribbons that have come loose (or are coming loose) from the top bar than I have seen that are fully intact.

It is difficult to estimate how many of these badges still exist. It would not surprise me to find there were less than a hundred or so of each. Of the three, the Chicago Day badge is the one I've encountered most often.

I enjoyed adding these pieces to my cabinet. I find them to be historically interesting supplements -- with a strong connection -- to my core commemorative collection. What more could I ask for? (Well, maybe MS-65 examples?!)

Enjoy!


Chicago Day Badge w/ 1893 Columbian Half Dollar




Manhattan Day Badge w/ 1893 Columbian Half Dollar




Columbus Day Badge w/ 1893 Columbian Half Dollar



Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 02/09/2017  06:28 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add bpoc1 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Commems, thanks. Another great history lesson.
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 Posted 02/09/2017  09:41 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CelticKnot to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Nice! Any idea what the other 78 special days used as badges? I'm guessing it was a wide variety.

Were there other expositions that did a similar thing, using a U.S. Classic Commemorative as part of the badge?

How do you store/display these badges?
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 Posted 02/09/2017  09:59 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add vergasond to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks, very informative posting. I love the old commemoratives and have a few. What are your thoughts on modern commemoratives do you feel collecting them will result in value increase?
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 Posted 02/09/2017  11:44 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add nfine to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you to commems for the wonderful photos and CelticKnot for another subject to investigate.
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 Posted 02/09/2017  12:16 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Any idea what the other 78 special days used as badges? I'm guessing it was a wide variety.

From what I can tell, not every special day had a badge (it would appear that many did not). I've seen a couple dozen different small brass badges with state designations, but none have an indication that they were issued for the state's special day. In fact, some of the state badges I've seen were for states that did not have a special day at the Expo; they are likely generic souvenir badges that an Expo vendor sold to visitors from each state. There are many non-special day badges out there for the Expo, a collector could spend quite some time trying to collect them all.


Quote:
Were there other expositions that did a similar thing, using a U.S. Classic Commemorative as part of the badge?

There are a few cases of hanging badges being made that include a commemorative half dollar, but they were special VIP badges and not readily available to the general public. One I know of was associated with the 1918 Illinois Centennial half dollar, another was made for the 1936 Rhode Island tercentenary. The rarity of such badges puts their market price in the multi-thousands.

There may be a few one-off "custom" badges out there, but I'm not aware of them. Has anyone else seen such a badge?


Quote:
How to you store/display these badges?

I use Lighthouse coin boxes (trays) for my raw coins and medals; for these badges I use the tray designed for coins in PCGS/NGC/ANACS holders - they fit nicely!



Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 02/09/2017  6:23 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add nickelsearcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Fully enjoyed reading this thread and your subsequent reply commems ... truly appreciate your kind sharing of the items from your tremendous cabinet combined with your un-paralleled knowledge of the subject matter.

Such a combination of expertise always results in a compelling and informative story from you.

Interesting to note that this morning on eBay appeared a 'Chicago Day' badge with a likewise toned XF half dollar ... although I did not pay enough attention on my haste to work to note if the ribbon was fully adhered to the bar.

Many thanks commems ... you are the best!

David
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Too many hobbies .... too much work .... not enough time.
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 Posted 02/09/2017  6:42 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add SilverDon to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for the informative post Commems.
Always a pleasure.
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 Posted 02/09/2017  11:17 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CelticKnot to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I use Lighthouse coin boxes (trays) for my raw coins and medals; for these badges I use the tray designed for coins in PCGS/NGC/ANACS holders - they fit nicely!

I'm sure they do.... photos?
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 Posted 02/09/2017  11:50 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add winscout to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
These hanging badges could only be purchased on a specific day at the fair (Chicago Day (Oct. 9), Manhattan Day (Oct. 21) and Columbus Day (Oct. 30)). All other sales of the Columbian Half Dollar were suspended on those days so the only way you could get one was by purchasing one of the hanging badges.

You are correct that the Chicago Day hanging badge is the most common of the three. This makes sense since Chicago Day was the single largest day of attendance at the fair with more than 750,000 visitors.

The rarest badge is the Columbus Day badge with yellow ribbon. Very few of the Columbus Day badges exist because of the very poor attendance the last two days of the fair as the result of the assassination of the beloved Chicago Mayor Carter Harrison on October 28 by a disgruntled office seeker Patrick Prendergast.

The badges were made by the FH Noble Company of Chicago (manufacturers of Jewelers Findings, Bangles, Etc.) who had a concession for selling "souvenir" coin holders on the fairgrounds.

The Manhattan Day badge has a dark blue ribbon at the request of the New York delegation to the fair. The Columbus Day badge was supposed to have a terra cotta colored ribbon (yellow) to match one of the primary colors in the Spanish flag. It is not known why most of the Columbus Day badges actually have a blue ribbon similar to the Manhattan Day badge.

All badges were sold for $1.00 each which was the actual cost of the half dollar. It is not documented, but they must have gotten a discount on the selling price of the half dollars in order to make a profit. The financial records of their concession shows that they brought in $16,000 in total receipts. One would naturally assume that they only sold a cumulative total of 16,000 badges for all three days.

I have to agree with you that based on the number of these badges I have seen over the years that 100 or less of the Chicago Day badges exist and even lower amounts of the other two.
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 Posted 02/10/2017  12:06 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@winscout: First, "Welcome!" to CCF!

Second, "Thank you!" very much for your content-rich supplement to my post. The additional information is much appreciated by this collector and student of US commemorative coins.

Are you a student of the Columbian Exposition? Of US commemorative coins? Of world's fair badges in general? I would very much enjoy learning about your journey to such a level of expertise on these particular pieces!

Again, your contribution is much appreciated!





Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
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 Posted 02/10/2017  01:51 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CelticKnot to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@winscout: amazing information and thanks for your contribution! I hate to ask and sound ungrateful, but do you have anything to back up your facts? Regardless your specificity is impressive.

indeed!
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 Posted 02/10/2017  10:33 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I agree, a wonderful contribution, winscout.

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 Posted 02/10/2017  9:47 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add bandsdean to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
These are very cool. Wouldn't mind a few in my collection!
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 Posted 02/11/2017  4:48 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Coinfrog to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Great background and nice examples - most informative.
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