Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    1820 Charleston MECHANIC Slave Hire Badge. Number 175. A nearly flat square-shaped tag (as they were in even-numbered years during this period) with clipped corners, a hole for suspension, 51mm x 54mm. "LAFAR" hallmark punched on the back indicating manufacture by Charleston silversmith John Joseph LaFar. The elements on the front are as follows (top to bottom): "*CHARLESTON*" in a crescent-shaped bar punch (the L affected by the suspension hole); "MECHANIC" in a rectangular punch; "No" in a square punch followed by an incuse "175" in individual punches; and "1820" bar punched. This particular example was recovered in 2000 from dirt removed at Market Square in downtown Charleston and was featured on the cover of North-South Trader's Civil War. The appearance of this badge is very pleasing with dark brown fields with a bit of olive in the lower areas and some red on the highlights (likely from a light cleaning at the time of excavation). The stampings are all very clear and strong.

    The Mechanic occupation is considered to be scarce- much rarer than the Servant or Porter tags. It likely replaced the earlier used Carpenter term as the handicraft tradesman category. The authors of Slave Badges and the Slave-Hire System in Charleston, South Carolina, 1783-1865 make an interesting observation about the 1820 badges. Estimating "...that only 2,050 badges might have been sold" and based on the U.S census figure of 12,652 slaves in Charleston that year, they postulate that "...16 percent of the slave population could have been wearing badges."

    Shipping, Taxes, Terms and Bidding
    Calculate Standard Domestic Shipping

    Sales Tax information  |  Terms and Conditions

    Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments

    Glossary of Terms

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2006
    7th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 11
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,023

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2020 October 27 Domain Names Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    The pre and post sales experience was wonderful and flawless. Heritage has the best in-house operation I have ever seen and their people are not only professional but fun to work with, especially Steve C.

    As for Heritage's online system… Yes the interface is more complex than what we are used to with SAN but what is behind that interface is amazing for sellers and buyers alike. It is real time and for a real serious auction buyer there is nothing better in the auction industry, bar none.
    Ron Cipolla,
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2018 June 10 Arms & Armor, Civil War & Militaria Signature Auction - Dallas
    2018 June 10 Arms & Armor, Civil War & Militaria Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED $616,190