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William Henry Bridgens - Civil War Token Die Sinker

ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,863 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited March 15, 2021 1:18AM in U.S. Coin Forum

What do we know about William H Bridgens who struck the Knickerbocker Currency Civil War Tokens (CWTs)? I always thought it was interesting that the Knickerbocker Currency is 1 of 3 CWTs mentioned in Wikipedia but don't know much about him.


The first of these privately minted tokens appeared in the autumn of 1862, by H. A. Ratterman, in Cincinnati, Ohio. New York issues followed in the spring of 1863, first with Lindenmueller currency store card tokens issued by New York City barkeep Gustavus Lindenmueller and then with Knickerbocker currency patriotic tokens issued by William H. Bridgens.

In addition to making making many patriotic and store card tokens, he made many tokens for his own business. Here are some:

1863 Bridgens For Public Accomodation Civil War Token - Brass - F-630J-1b PE Bridgens NY - by William Henry Bridgens - PCGS MS64 POP 1/0 - Ex. Q. David Bowers Reference Collection, Steve Hayden (inv)


  • Q. David Bowers Reference Collection
  • Steve Hayden (sold) Feb 27, 2021

1863 Bridgens Washington Token Civil War Token - Copper - Fuld NY630J-2a - R6 - PCGS MS66 BN - by William Henry Bridgens - PCGS MS66 POP 1/0 - Ex. Steve Hayden (inv)


  • Steve Hayden (sold) Jan 31, 2021

1863 Bridgens Money Makes the Mare Go Civil War Token - Copper - F-630J-4a Copper PE - R6 - PCGS MS65 RB - by William Henry Bridgens - PCGS MS66 POP 1/0 - Ex. Q. David Bowers Reference Collection, @DCW


I found this William Henry Bridgens of New York at MyHeritage:


William Henry Bridgens, 1806 - 1887
William Henry Bridgens was born in 1806, at birth place.
William married Elethere Bridgens (born Brewster) on month day 1829, at age 23 at marriage place, New York.
Elethere was born on November 27 1808, in Schenectady, Schenectady, New York, USA.
They had 7 children: John Bridgens, Frederick Bridgens and 5 other children.
William lived at address.
He lived circa 1840, at address, New York.
He lived in 1857, at address, New York.
He lived in 1859, at address, New York.
He lived in 1860, at address, New York.
He lived in 1863, at address, New York.
He lived in 1864, at address, New York.
He lived in 1873, at address, New York.
He lived in 1874, at address, New York.
He lived in 1876, at address, New York.
He lived in 1877, at address, New York.
He lived in 1880, at address, New York.
William passed away on month day 1887, at age 81 at death place, New York.

There is another William Henry Bridgens who lived from 1947 to 1899 but was buried in Kansas City, who seems a less likely match.

Grave information for William Henry Bridgens, located in the Woodlawn Cemetery, Kansas City Kansas.


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    ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,863 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 18, 2017 7:15AM

    I found his full name, William Henry Bridgens, from auction catalogs at the Newman Numismatic Portal:

    https://nnp.wustl.edu/library/searchwithterms?searchterm=anti-slavery society

    After confirming his middle name via NNP, I was able to find his entry on MedalArtists.com. Of note, "fl 1829-1865" means Floruit or that he flourished during those dates. It looks like he may have retired after the Civil War from those dates. Of note is that he went by "Henry Bridgens", not "William H Bridgens".


    BRIDGENS, William Henry (fl 1829-1865) Early American engraver, diesinker, New York City.

    Listed in New York city directories as H. or Henry Bridgens. Numismatic authority Q. David Bowers states this engraver also dealt in coins, was an accomplished engraver who had a manerism of using triangular dentils in his borders; he also used spearheads as ornaments. Poorly educated, however, he often misspelled names on medals, although his pictorial devices are quite good; his presswork was sloppy with frequent misaligned dies and off center strikes. Token author Russel Rulau stated: "His skill level was low but his output large."

    My initial Google searches find very few photos of other tokens attributed to him, including the following. It would be neat to have a photo catalog of his pieces.

    1840 Eight Presidents Medal
    1840 American Anti-Slavery Association Medal

    Here's the Anti-Slavery Association from the Dr. Alan York estate and sold by Roland Auctions, NY for $812.50 ($650.00 + $162.50 BP).


    American Anti-Slavery Society abolitionist white metal medal, by William Henry Bridgens, Bushnell Misc #8, measures approximately 1 13/16 inch in diameter. Total weight 0.880 troy oz. About Uncirculated condition.

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    ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,863 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 11, 2019 12:08AM

    Old Thread Update

    Here's some info from Ancestry.com that provides his birth location, date of death and location of death. His wife's given and maiden names correspond with the info at MyHeritage.


    Born in New York City, New York, USA on 1806. William Henry Bridgens married Elethere Brewster and had 1 child. He passed away on 3 Oct 1887 in Oyster Bay, New York, USA.

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    ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,863 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 7, 2021 5:09AM

    More great information on Henry Bridgens from a page on "Hillside", a house he and his wife owned and operated as a tavern and inn. It also turns out Henry's wife, Elethere Brewster was related to Louise Whitfield, wife of Andrew Carnegie!

    Hillside is located at 198 East Main Street, Oyster Bay, NY.

    William Henry Bridgens (1806-1887) was an engraver who worked at 189 William Street in New York. He and his wife Elethere Brewster (1808-?) operated a tavern and inn from the former Adelia and Cornelius McCoon house during the 1850's. The Bridgens sold the property to Richard Irvin, a merchant from New York City in 1861. Even after the house was sold, members of the Bridgens family maintained a presence in Oyster Bay. Frederick Bridgens, son of William Henry Bridgens lived with his wife Sarah Johnson on a farm. Following his death, Mrs. Bridgens and her three sons Fred, Frank, and Albert went to live with Mr. & Mrs. Landon on the East Norwich Road. She was deeply grieved by the loss of her husband, however, and tragically drowned herself in the Mill Pond. In obituaries at the time of her death it was commented how Mrs. Bridgens was a cousin or alternatively an aunt of Louise Whitfield, the wife of famed industrialist Andrew Carnegie.


    More information on the current status of the house, aka Trousdell House, here:


    Here's a photo from Wikimapia:

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    ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,863 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 7, 2021 5:17AM

    Here are the FindAGrave.com listings for Henry and Elethera.

    Apparently, Henry Bridgens worked for the US Treasury Department under President Andrew Jackson! This just keeps getting more interesting.

    William Henry Bridgens (1806 - 1887)

    • Born: Birmingham, Metropolitan Borough of Birmingham, West Midlands, England
    • Died: Napanoch, Ulster County, New York, USA

    William arrived in the United States in late 1827, occupation was listed as "letter cutter". He became a somewhat famous engraver and worked for a short time in the U.S. Treasury Department under President Jackson. In 1829 he married Elethera Brewster and their union produced seven children, 4 girls and 3 boys. He was preceded in death by one daughter and two sons.


    Elethera B. Brewster Bridgens (1808 - 1899)

    • Born: Schenectady, Schenectady County, New York, USA
    • Died: Brooklyn, Kings County (Brooklyn), New York, USA


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    VeepVeep Posts: 1,403 ✭✭✭✭

    Zoins— Your research skills and tenacity are amazing!

    You have a way of creating interest in someone I had never heard of and didn’t think I cared about. Thanks.

    "Let me tell ya Bud, you can buy junk anytime!"
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    ZoinsZoins Posts: 33,863 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I just looked up this thread again after reading Den's wonderful thread on the Skidmore Hotel pieces:


    I continue to be fascinated by the Bridgen's Hotel and here's some additional information. It's now popularly known as the Trousdell House due to James and Marjorie Ruth Trousdell who owned it before Bridgens.

    jlewis said in Oyster Bay Enterprise-Pilot:
    Mr. Kremer and Ms. Maus have created an extensive history of the people involved with the house – too long to be included here. However, Mr. Kremer wrote in his history of the house, “James and Marjorie Ruth Trousdell were the third group of newlyweds, following the McCoon and Garver families, to own and reside in Hillside immediately following their nuptials. Dr. James Trousdell married Marjorie Ruth Trousdell in August 1948. Dr. Marjorie Trousdell was born July 14, 1916, and graduated from Barnard College of Columbia University in 1937, and the LI College of Medicine in 1946. She specialized in pathology and was on the staff of Mercy Hospital retiring in 1981. Her husband James’ specialty was internal medicine. He practiced in Oyster By from his house until retiring in 1990. They had four children: Barbara, James Jr., Elizabeth, and Bruce. Marjorie died December 22, 2004, and was buried at Youngs Memorial Cemetery in Oyster Bay.”

    The Cornelius & Adelia McCoon House was originally a Greek revival home with Colonial Revival details added later around 1913. This is one of Oyster Bay’s last remaining examples of a summer colony destination for 19th-century visitors that included members of the Roosevelt and Irvin families.

    Ref: https://oysterbayenterprisepilot.com/2011/08/shadow-ball-will-save-and-preserve-the-trousdell-house/

    The house is now being restored by Michael and Claudia Taglich:

    jlewis said in Oyster Bay Enterprise-Pilot:
    “The Taglich family helped raise the necessary money to stabilize this house and we are very grateful for that,” said Main Street Association President John Bonifacio. “It is critical for us as community members and an organization to fight for the preservation of our historic structures to make sure they are not lost.”

    Michael, who is chairman and president of Taglich Brothers, a New York City-based securities firm, said he had bought the home from the North Shore Land Alliance, a nonprofit that usually buys and preserves vacant land.

    “It is a beautiful, historic structure and we did not want to see it torn down by developers,” said Taglich. “My wife and I and our four daughters really like the area of Oyster Bay and we plan to stay here in this wonderful house with its charming character.”

    The Trousdell House, “Hillside,” has a very historical background. It was built in 1844 as a summer home for Cornelius and Adelia McCoon and housed a tavern and inn in the 1850s. In the 1870s, President Theodore Roosevelt’s uncle, James, rented the home and for much of the later 20th century, Dr. James Trousdell kept it as his home and office.

    Ref: https://oysterbayenterprisepilot.com/2014/02/trousdell-house-has-new-owners/

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