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    Description

    1813 Charleston PORTER Slave Hire Badge. Number 300. A nearly flat octagonal tag with a hole at the top for suspension, 49mm x 50mm. John Joseph LaFar, a prominent Charleston silversmith, manufactured it; a very light "LAFAR" hallmark is punched on the back. The elements on the front are as follows (top to bottom): "CHARLESTON" in a crescent-shaped bar punch; "1813" bar punched; "PORTER" in a rectangular punch; "No" in a square punch (just a bit faint) followed by an incuse, and a hand-engraved "300". This is the last year in which numbers were engraved. From 1814 on, numbers were individually punched. The badge has been repaired where crimped above the word "PORTER" and at a 8mm elliptical area to the left of the "P". Generally fine condition with dark chocolate patina with just a hint of light verdigris at the top edge.

    Contemporary reporting of badge sales after 1805 showed just dollar amounts. Authors Harlan Greene, Harry S. Hutchins, Jr., and Brian E. Hutchins, in their definitive reference work Slave Badges and the Slave-Hire System in Charleston, South Carolina, 1783-1865, have devised a mathematical formula for estimating the number of badges issued in each year. For 1813, they state, "Estimates put the number at 1,227".


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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2009
    13th-14th Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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