1860 FIREMAN'S MEDAL
In his monograph "Alfred S. Robinson - Hartford Numismatist"
J. Doyle DeWitt describes this medalet as having been issued by Robinson with the dies cut by Robert Lovett Jr.. This seems odd since all the other Robinson issues were engraved by Joseph H. Merriam and Robert's brother George H. but the initials R.L. do appear below the fire fighter's statue. According to Robinson's own published list they were struck in the following compositions and quantities: silver - 20, copper - 10,000, brass - 2,000, tin - 250, silvered brass - 350, nickel - 50. SCUST list the copper piece as
Pa 780 and then states "this medalet is known in brass, silver, and other metals".
Although this piece was engraved by a Philadelphia engraver would it not be better listed as a Hartford, Connecticut issue?
1860 Robinson's Fireman's Medal
PA 780, copper, 30mm
Tin (white metal), 31.1mm
Silvered Brass, 30mm
Copper nickel (91.43% copper, 8.42% nickel, .15% zinc), 31.1mm
DeWitt does not list this as having been struck in this metal. Could it be the "nickel" variety he mentions?
Civil War Patriotic Cover
Although these tokens were struck before the start of the Civil War it has an interesting connection to another Robert Jr. piece, the Marshall House Hotel token, and Colonel Elmer Ellsworth who was killed there. Colonel Ellsworth is also well known for recruiting volunteer New York City fire fighters to serve in his New York Fireman Zouve Regiment, organized just days after Lincoln's call on
April 15, 1861 for 75,000 volunteers to join the Union Army.
Ellsworth was a commander of a local militia in Chicago and had become fascinated with the elite French infantry that had served in the Crimean War. The Zouves wore elaborate and garish uniforms consisting of brightly colored baggy pants and short jackets, similar to the outfits on these tokens. He organized his militia into a precision drill team dressed in these outfits and began touring American cities. With war on the horizon Ellsworth was planning on organizing other Zouve units to get the North ready. When Lincoln's call for volunteers went out he immediately went to New York and placed notices in the city's newspapers calling for firefighters to join his new unit. By early May a unit of 1,100 men was stationed in Washington D.C. When asked why firefighters he replied "I want the New York Fireman for there are no more effective men in the country and none with whom I can do so much. Our friends at Washington are sleeping on a volcano and I want men who are ready at any moment to plunge into the thickest of the fight"
New York Fireman Zouve Regiment
1888 Peekskill Fireman's Token
White metal, 31.3mm
1889 Newburgh, N.Y. Fireman's Token
1890 Paterson Exempt Fireman's Association Medal
The obverse on these pieces appear to be Robert Jr's design
with a few changes (the wreath replacing the inscription,
buttons missing, etc.). Since he was no longer alive I would
guess that his brother, George H., obtained the obverse die
and muled it with his own. If anyone knows of other examples
please contact me.