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    1851 Charleston SERVANT Slave Hire Badge. Number 769. A flat, nearly concave, diamond-shaped tag with a hole at the top for suspension, 53mm x 55mm. The maker, William Rouse, did not clip the corners on some of the Servant badges this year for the first time. This is one such badge with sharp corners that must have been very uncomfortable to wear. The elements on the front are as follows (top to bottom): "CHARLESTON" in a crescent-shaped bar punch; "1851" bar punched; "SERVANT" in a rectangular punch; and an incuse "769" in individual punches. The condition is fine with multi-colored, rough surfaces and some wear to the stamped elements.

    Based on the fact that Charleston was growing quickly in this period of time and that Charleston Neck had been incorporated into the city, it is not surprising that the production of slave hire badges in 1851 was the largest to date. Approximately 6350 were manufactured though "by the formula for estimating slave badge sales based on income, the number of badges sold comes to 4,668, quite a bit less than the number actually made." (Greene et al, Slave Badges and the Slave Hire System..., 138). One has to wonder where they all went, as likely only a couple dozen from this date are extant today.


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