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    1816 Charleston FISHER Slave Hire Badge. Number 114. A nearly flat square-shaped (as they were in even-numbered years during this period) tag with clipped corners and a hole at the top for suspension, 49mm x 51mm. Hallmark punched "LAFAR" on the reverse below the hole indicating manufacture by Charleston silversmith and city marshal John Joseph LaFar. The elements on the obverse are as follows (top to bottom): "*CHARLESTON*" in a crescent-shaped bar punch; "1816" bar punched; "FISHER" in a rectangular punch; and "No" in a square punch followed by an incuse "114" in individual punches. These incuse punches must have been accomplished with a lot of force as the numbers have, through the years, eaten all the way through the metal in places. Condition is otherwise fine with a dark patina.

    The Charleston slave hire system allowed for slaves to work at various different trades as indicated on the badge; the fees charged were based on level of skill. The semi-skilled occupations (Servant and Porter) were by far the most common and account for as many as 80% of the badges known to today's collectors. The Mechanic occupation accounts for maybe 10% and the rest of the known occupations (Fruiterer, Carpenter, and Fisher) make up the balance of the existing badges with Fisher possibly being the scarcest of all. The badge offered here is of considerable rarity and should not be passed over based strictly on its minor condition problems. This is the first time Heritage has had the privilege of offering a slave tag with this rare occupation, and though we have two in this sale, it's impossible to predict when we will ever have another.

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    Auction Dates
    February, 2007
    26th-27th Monday-Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 722

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