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William Sphon Baker: Comparing Rarities

ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,726 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited February 26, 2021 7:56AM in U.S. Coin Forum

The William Sphon Baker Collection of Washingtonia was sold by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in November 2019. This collection was intact for over 100 years after William donated it to the Historical Society where he was Vice President. He passed away in 1897.

In many ways, this was a seminal collection, the top of the top and the creme of the creme for a variety of Washingtonia including So-Called Dollars and large medals. It's certainly a collection that has been fixated in my mind. I picked up a number of pieces from this collection but almost immediately thought of the pieces I missed.

Threads on this sale are here:

Given how rare some of these pieces are and how large the Baker collection was, I find it fascinating to compare the Baker specimens with other ones that show up, and look at medals that were not in the Baker collection. I already did a specific article comparing specimens in the Baker Collection to that of the E. Pluribus Unum Collection here:

I just recently ran into this again when researching a silver Civil War Token. This is interesting because there are 3 total specimens, 2 of which have sold in recent years. The 2 specimens show up at Stack's with the same Fuld number but different Musante and Baker numbers.

1863 First in War First in Peace Civil War Token - Silver - by Scovill Mfg - Fuld-173/272f, Musante GW-470 var, Baker-477 var - R9 - NGC MS65 POP 0/1/1 - Ex. Michael Parkoff

This is my specimen, very white and beautiful in hand. It's one of my favorite Civil War Tokens. It looks more white than the photos show, especially on the obverse.

Stack's says this is unlisted in Musante in this composition, but PCGS lists it as Musante GW-639 Ag, which likely means that GW-639 is this type but doesn't show it in silver.

  • NGC has 2 certified, this one at 65 and one graded higher at 66.
  • PCGS has 1 certified at MS63


I believe I have this in copper raw as well but need to go find it.

1863 First in War First in Peace Civil War Token - Silver - by Scovill Mfg - Fuld-173/272f, Musante GW-639 var, Baker-476 - R9 - PCGS MS63 POP 0/1/0 - Ex. William Sphon Baker

In researching how many of these exist, I noted that PCGS had a single specimen certified and I noticed it was the Baker specimen when I went to look it up. I was interested in picking this up in the auction but had too many other things to focus on so had to pass.

It's definitely more toned and colorful than mine.


  • rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Very nice - and historical - token. Thanks for showing us.... Cheers, RickO

  • DCWDCW Posts: 6,747 ✭✭✭✭✭

    A great design and composition rarity! A real highlight to your set. I dont know why they are called different numbers as they are the same variety to my eyes.
    Doesn't @BillJones own the "First In War, First In Peace" original die?

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

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