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    1837 Charleston SERVANT Slave Hire Badge. Number 1793. A flat diamond-shaped tag with slightly clipped corners, holed at the top for suspension, 60mm x 60mm. No hallmark, but manufactured by William M. Rouse, a local silversmith and jeweler. The elements on the front are as follows (top to bottom): "*CHARLESTON*" in a crescent-shaped bar punch; an incuse "1793" in individual punches; "SERVANT" in a rectangular punch; and "1837" bar punched. This obviously excavated badge is generally in good condition with a very dark patina and rough, worn surfaces. The badge number is bold and distinct but the other elements are less so. The last digit of the date is a bit hard to read.

    1837 was a year that saw a number of changes to the local slave hiring-out laws. In March, the city approved an ordinance that raised taxes in a number of areas, including slaves and these slave hire badges. Slave children (under 12) were now taxed at $1.50 while adults (over 12) were taxed at $2.50. The various badge fees were increased, in some cases doubling. Also in March, a provision was made, for the first time, allowing slaveholders living outside the Charleston city limits to hire out their slaves (though at a double rate plus an extra tax) in the city. The very next month, the city council, upon the petition of several wealthy businessmen, passed a proposal to suspend the penalty that had been charged to those hiring out more than six slaves. They could now hire out as many they wanted. The mayor had concerns about the price increases because of a downturn in the cotton business but the prices stood (at least until the next year).

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2006
    7th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 13
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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