Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

    Description

    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."


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2006
    7th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 12
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,578

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

    Sold on Jun 7, 2006 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    VIEW BENEFITS
    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
      winnings 
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2021 November 12 - 13 Space Exploration Signature Auction.

    Learn about consigning with us

    Heritage has gone above and beyond my expectations in handling all of my transactions in a thoroughly professional manner. I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone worldwide for the exemplary auction and valuation services they provide.
    Richard H.,
    Corsicana, TX
    View More Testimonials

    HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: Similarweb.com)

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search