Fake or Fantasy Slave Tags, Slave Hire Badges,

Slavery Tokens, Etc.

If YOU are interested in collecting original SLAVERY tokens, Slave Tags, Slave Badges or Slave Hire Badges, Anti-Slavery Tokens or medals, etc., please let me know YOUR interests via e-mail at hartzog@exonumia.com. We stock a wide variety of genuine Slavery medallic items.

Our Mail Bid Sale #10 featured FIVE Charleston Slave Tags, plus other Slavery and Anti-Slavery tokens and medals.

FAKE and FANTASY SLAVE TAGS & TOKENS.

Unfortunately, with the increase in popularity and price of genuine slave tags, the crooks and con-artists have moved in. In the past several years a number of counterfeit Slave Tags and fantasy tags have appeared, as well as a very few cast counterfeit "Am I Not a Woman and Sister" tokens. Some of these are obvious, others exceedingly deceptive. The general types are:


High Quality Counterfeit Charleston Slave Tags:

These are exact reproductions of genuine tags, made with bar-punches so the letters are raised. Most GENUINE Slave Tags have the city "Charleston", the occupation, such as "Servant" and the year, such as "1860" all struck on a tag from bar-punches, with raised letters. Additionally a serial number is incused punched. Some early genuine tags also have a silversmith bar-punch mark. Several years ago a crook had some bar-punch dies made up, to closely duplicate genuine tags. While there are many identifying characteristics of these fakes, the novice collector can easily be duped. Some of these modern fakes have been struck in lead, or on sheets of lead with multiple strikes. If you have purchased a slave tag from ANYONE without a guarantee of authenticity and a 100% money back guarantee, IN WRITING, you can probably kiss your money goodbye. Sorry to be so negative, and yes, it is possible to get genuine tags for nominal sums, but there are a lot of fakes out there. If you want a genuine Slave Tag, buy the book first! Only $25 (see below).

FAKE: 1841 Charleston Servant Slave Tag. A SRUCK tag, very deceptive, from modern dies. Very dangerous, looks great. Often offered on eBay by sellers with high feedback, with a warranty. TOTALLY FAKE, and the sellers are crooks! Just try to get your money back!

FAKE: 1856 Charleston Servant Slave Tag with Bill of Sale: A STRUCK tag, very deceptive, from modern dies. Looks great, on the correct size and shape metal planchet, green patina overall. Often sold with high quality total fantasy Bill of Sale, with serial number of Tag on the Bill of Sale! Paper is 7 1/8 x 9 1/8", "Slave - Charleston - Bill 18 (56)/ No (533) Value $ (800), with handwritten information as to supposed sale of negro, with large eagle lower left, printed info, etc., signed at bottom right twice. On artifically aged course paper, with 1856 wax seal, signed in aged brown ink, with embossed "Charleston" seal bottom left (see eagle image for partial "Charleston"). Some of these have fake damage to edges of the paper. A total fabrication, nicely aged and highly deceptive.

FAKE: 1862 Charleston Servant Slave Tag - A STRUCK tag, very deceptive, from modern dies. This specimen is on lead, which was never used for original Tags. Very dangerous! Another example, on copper, from a photograph.


Low Quality Counterfeit Charleston Slave Tags:

ALL fully incuse or fully hand-engraved Slave Tags are counterfeit. If you buy a fully incuse piece without any letters raised, you are buying a modern reproduction or a modern fantasy.

FAKE: 1833 Charleston Porter: A fully incuse tag. Also check the reverse, which shows it was folded over. Virtually no genuine tags are known to exist with folded-over reverses.

FAKE: 1833 Charleston Porter: A fully hand-engraved tag, with stamped number 131, obviously by Mr. X.

FAKE: 1842 Charleston Servant 46. A fully incuse tag, a modern fake, and a poor copy at that.


Medium to Low Quality Fantasy Non-Charleston "Slave Tags":

There are NO genuine Slave Tags known to exist except from Charleston and Charleston Neck (a suburb). All Mississippi Tags are modern fantasy pieces (NO original is known to exist). All fully incuse tags are fakes or fantasy pieces. Recently seen pieces include "Kemp Plantation" and others, all by the same maker. Generally these are oval, holed, ornately engraved on both sides, and sound "too good to be true". I corresponded with the maker of these tags, and he offered to make items to my specification. He has created a number of quite interesting pieces, all of similar style and all "too good to be true". Several years ago he was offering these in the $30 range, and I believe that is a reasonable price to pay, for a modern fantasy item. Unfortunately these have been sold or offered for prices ranging from $300 to over $1000! Again, get a written money-back guarantee!

FANTASY: 1804 Kemp Plantation Tobacco and Cotton MS A Fantasy, by Mr. X. Sold at auction for $1100+.

FANTASY: Sold for $319 12/98, described as: "It measures 2 1/2" X1 3/4"app. and appears to be made of pewter or lead. One side reads "Kemp Plantation, Tobacco and Cotton, State of Mississippi". The name "Fletcher" is engraved on the side. The other side reads"Field Worker, Kemp Plantation, 1804, Mississippi". The name "Willard" is stamped into oval at top of tag." (I missed the photo, sorry!).

FANTASY: 1826 Mississippi Slave Tag - Campfield Plantation. A Fantasy, most likely by Mr. X.

FANTASY: 1842 Plantation Slave Badge - Davis Pla. A Fantasy, crudely struck on metal.

FANTASY: 1862 Washwoman - incuse on trapazoidal metal. Modern fantasy.

FANTASY: "R.R./Miss./Porter/1861" Modern 'goofy fake' fantasy, listed in a recent catalog as follows: {{M2132..HISTORIC PRE-CIVIL WAR SLAVE'S IDENTITY TAG: rough cut 40x50mm tin tag w/hole punched in top for wear on chain or cord. Has "R.R. / Miss. / Porter / 1861" hand stamped into 1 side. Vendor reports this was a slave's identity tag and the RR indicates he worked for the Railroad. Fantastic, historic offering--a rare, No. B.S. artifact--dark overall w/much genuine patina. Don't mistake this for some goofy fake. III......$350.00}}

FANTASY: "1836/House/Ala/384" Modern fantasy, listed in a recent catalog as follows: {{M2133..HISTORIC PRE-CIVIL WAR SLAVE'S IDENTITY TAG: rough cut 42x55mm copper tag w/hole punched in top for wear on chain or cord. Has "1836 / HOUSE / ALA / 384" hand stamped into front. Again, a choice historical piece--100% genuine w/heavy patina. Rare. II......$350.00}}

FANTASY: "A.G. Brooks". Another modern fantasy by Mr. X, on a round planchet, fully hand engraved except for numerals: "A. G. Brooks/Slave Trading/House/ 1858", rev: "Alexandria/Virginia/69 (incuse)/Healthy Strong Slaves", with leg chains and locks around. Heavy pot metal, 48mm, 2mm thick, dark, artificially toned. Reverse. Another example is stamped "70".

FANTASY: "ATL Porter 1854". A crude piece, fully incuse, on an odd planchet.

FANTASY: "Virginia/38/Servant/1842". A crude piece, fully incuse, on an odd shaped planchet, with edges bent over on three sides to the reverse. Probably made by the same person as the above 1854 Porter. It has a very dark patina, which flakes off quite easily, with several spots of copper showing. 46x51mm, extremely thin. Some oxidation to the copper is covered up by the applied patina. Pictures have been lightened to show details.

FANTASY: "Oakwood/Plantation/1827/Beatrice". Another hand-engraved piece, with 'Beatrice' letter-punched, on 48mm round planchet, with applied, raised oak leaves. Rev: "Berkely County - South Carolina/House/Servant/81", with the '81' incuse.

FANTASY: "Stratford Hall Plantation - Virginia" Another hand-engraved piece. Total fantasy! Various numbers seen.

FANTASY: Seabrook Plantation. ALL are fantasy pieces. According to Will Seabrook, direct descendant of the original owners, there are no known original slave tags from Seabrook Plantation.


Authenticity: Yes, I do written reviews. Please see VERIFY YOUR EXONUMIA. If your seller won't guarantee (in writing) your piece, it is highly likely to be a fake or fantasy!

My Experience: So who am I to make claims about Slave Tags? I've been a collector and dealer in tokens, medal, exonumia, slave tags and other collectibles since 1962, and a full time dealer since 1972. To the best of my knowledge I have owned more Slave Tags than all my exonumia dealer friends combined. I flew to New York to visit the American Numismatic Society holdings and to view the John J Ford Jr. collection sold at auction. I've been to Charleston and viewed the museum holdings there. I have been studying the field for a long time, and have developed some expertise over the years.

THE BOOKLET: And I sell a booklet published by a noted SC society, with my review of the booklet, the Ford collection, the auction and prices realized and more. This booklet is strongly recommended for all collectors interested in Slave Tags. ((CURRENTLY out of print: WRITE FIRST!!!)). (You can order by sending your personal check).

And oh yes, I'm a life member of the ANA, TAMS, CWTS, CSNS, IL-NA, NOW and others, a member of the ANS, and served as a long-term Board of Governors member of TAMS, CWTS and CSNS, and I was President of the Chicago Coin Club for 5 years. In short, I've been around, I've studied the field and I really think I know what I'm saying on Slave Tags. If you'd like to contact any of these organizations, check the web or email me for contacts. And by the way, I issue mail bid sale catalogs of tokens, medals and exonumia, including Slave Tags. A sample copy of Sale 9 is only $9, with color cover, almost $200000 in sales and includes the prices realized. Mail bid sale Sale 10 included five genuine slave tags and catalogs are available for only $15 with prices realized.

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Rich Hartzog
AAA Historical Americana -- World Exonumia
Buying, Selling, Auctions Since 1972
POB 4143CNT - Rockford IL 61110-0643
(815)226-0771 hartzog@exonumia.com

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