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Frank B. Orr was 20 years old when he commissioned this double-struck, off-center Civil War Token

ZoinsZoins Posts: 22,452 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited December 12, 2019 6:48PM in U.S. Coin Forum

Here's one of Frank's store cards which I just picked up. He's noted as "one of the pioneer Hardwaremen of the West" and "recognized for a long period as the most prominent representative of the hardware and cutlery trade in the [Chicago] city." He left behind a lot of hardware and catalogs for his stores. He's also had biographies written about him. I liked this piece because it's a particularly bright error token. I also like that he was a successful entrepreneur.

It's interesting that he was living in Cleveland, Ohio and moved to Mansfield, Ohio in 1863 but ordered tokens from William Henry Bridgens, who was based in New York City. I wonder if this was done by mail order or if he had travelled to New York when he picked these up.

Of note, his biography below in "Chicago: Its History and its Builders" indicates he was born in 1943 so he would have been 20, but his obituary further below in "The Iron Age" indicates he was born in 1838 so he would have been 25 when he ordered these tokens.

He made his mark in Chicago after deciding Mansfield was a limited market. Here are some quotes from the articles below.

Reaching Chicago en route a few days after the big fire in that city, however, when plans formulated for its rebuilding, he was quick to grasp the situation and altered his original plans, deciding immediately upon the establishment of a Hardware store in Chicago. A few days later he formed the acquaintance of Oswald Lockett, who was at the time connected with the Hardware firm of Edwin Hunt & Sons, and a partnership was shortly arranged which was the beginning of the corporation of which he was president at the time of his death.... Mr. Orr was a man of high ideals and one whose sense of honor in business was particularly keen and noteworthy.

The name became a synonym for reliable dealing and a guarantee of excellence of the stick which they handled.

His wife was of note as well as she was a descendent of John Wingate a founder of Harvard University and a number of her relatives fought in the Revolutionary War.

He joined the Union League in 1885 and was a member of other clubs including the Homewood Country Club, Indiana Club, and Twentieth Century Club. I wonder what the Twentieth Century club discussed.

Here's some information on him. The following are just excerpts so click through to see the full articles.

Comments

  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 22,452 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Did Frank Orr publish the first "Red Book"?

    Here's a catalog cover of his:

  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 22,452 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Here's a knife of his on Etsy:

  • rickoricko Posts: 75,362 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Zoins ....Thanks for the interesting history.... and great picture of the store token. Cheers, RickO

  • TreashuntTreashunt Posts: 5,077 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thanks for the write up.
    Interesting

    Frank

    BHNC #203

  • CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 28,223 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Chicago after the Great Fire was a good time to be in the building business.

    Winner of the ANA's 2020 Heath Literary Award, Wayte and Olga Raymond Literary Award, and Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • CWT1863CWT1863 Posts: 259 ✭✭✭✭

    Great post! Enjoyed the history. Thanks for sharing.

    ANA-LM, CWTS-LM, NBS, TAMS, ANS

  • seanqseanq Posts: 7,822 ✭✭✭✭

    Looks double struck to me, I see remnants of the legend above the primary strike on the obverse around K-1. Cool piece and interesting history.

    Sean Reynolds

    Incomplete planchets wanted, especially Lincoln Cents & type coins.

    "Keep in mind that most of what passes as numismatic information is no more than tested opinion at best, and marketing blather at worst. However, I try to choose my words carefully, since I know that you guys are always watching." - Joe O'Connor
  • johnny9434johnny9434 Posts: 21,686 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Nice I like

  • CaptHenwayCaptHenway Posts: 28,223 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @seanq said:
    Looks double struck to me, I see remnants of the legend above the primary strike on the obverse around K-1. Cool piece and interesting history.

    Sean Reynolds

    You are right!

    Winner of the ANA's 2020 Heath Literary Award, Wayte and Olga Raymond Literary Award, and Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • DCWDCW Posts: 4,597 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Awesome piece and one hell of a good write up, @Zoins !

    The fascinating aspect of Storecards is being able to learn the histories of their issuers. Sometimes it really comes alive.

    Dead Cat Waltz Exonumia
    "Coin collecting for outcasts..."

  • DCWDCW Posts: 4,597 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Also, is this from the sale of the Baker Collection? It is in fabulous condition! Copper nickel?

    Dead Cat Waltz Exonumia
    "Coin collecting for outcasts..."

  • SaorAlbaSaorAlba Posts: 6,762 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The OP's informative post is why I enjoy this forum

    In memory of my kitty Seryozha 14.2.1996 ~ 13.9.2016
  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 22,452 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @seanq said:
    Looks double struck to me, I see remnants of the legend above the primary strike on the obverse around K-1. Cool piece and interesting history.

    Sean Reynolds

    Definitely double struck. I had forgotten about that and just added it to the title. Thanks!

  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 22,452 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @DCW said:
    Also, is this from the sale of the Baker Collection? It is in fabulous condition! Copper nickel?

    Yes, it's copper nickel and from Baker. I'm especially fond of copper nickel because it seems to stay brighter over the years than straight copper. Baker had a number of "The Washington Token" pieces from Bridgens which I was happy to see, but this is the only one I picked up.

  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 22,452 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 12, 2019 10:14PM

    Thanks everyone. Learning a bit about the people who issued these tokens is a great treat for me and I'm glad to be able to share what I find here. It's impressive to me that Frank and others people I haver looked up were very well known in their day. Their tokens are something they leave behind for us to find and learn about them.

  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 22,452 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 12, 2019 10:26PM

    @CaptHenway said:
    Chicago after the Great Fire was a good time to be in the building business.

    Definitely. It's great to see his evolution from realizing Mansfield didn't have a lot of opportunity, to intending to move to St. Paul and then seeing the opportunity in Chicago after the Great Fire.

  • DCWDCW Posts: 4,597 ✭✭✭✭✭


    Here is an example of the F.B. Orr token I own that is struck in silver. More specifically, it is struck over an 1853 With Arrows Seated Liberty Dime!

    Dead Cat Waltz Exonumia
    "Coin collecting for outcasts..."

  • ZoinsZoins Posts: 22,452 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great piece @DCW ! You have a great collection of overstruck coins. I love this one as the wreath and denomination are very visible on the reverse!

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